When people are at home, they have almost total control over their own safety. It is quick and easy to take care of anything that looks dangerous such as moving obstacles, putting away toys or promptly cleaning up wet floor surfaces. On the other hand, while they are at a workplace, people are often in an unfamiliar environment in which it may be more likely for workplace accidents or work-related injuries to occur.
On every day and every night around Australia, men and women leave their homes and head off to work. "Work" is not just a place such as a factory or a shop. It can be piloting an aircraft, driving a bus, serving coffee, teaching, walking around issuing parking tickets, building a house or any of the countless jobs in industry, a profession or in commerce.
Business managers, shop owners and all people in authority usually want to make sure that the people that they work with can get through a work shift or task without incident. It is more than a desire, it is a legal requirement that every workplace be as safe as possible. People who are in charge have an obligation to mitigate risk to their colleagues, co-workers, employees, contractors and members of the public who come into contact with a business, office or indeed, any workplace.
State & Territory governments have dedicated departments that employ workplace health safety inspectors who make random visits to workplaces to look for evidence of a failure to comply with the laws that are in place to protect workers.
Workplace inspections can be random, but a higher percentage of prosecutions for breaches of safety legislation result from complaints made by unions, workers and contractors. People want to be safe at work and if necessary, they can make a private confidential complaint directly to a government department.
Managers have an obligation to make a workplace safe. An example that obligation is that staff and workers have to be trained to competently operate plant and machinery so that the risk of accidents is reduced. When there is a workplace accident, people should consult a lawyer who specialises in workplace matters like those at those at Sinnamon Lawyers. Click here
More generally, there should be signs on display warning everyone approaching a hazard about potential danger like, slipping in water, electrical cables running across walkways, balconies, or even the likelihood of passing forklift trucks. The list of potential hazards in workplaces would be endless, but the key point is that people have to be warned about the existence of a situation that could cause them harm or even death.
Everyone should be given a workplace induction so that they know who they can speak to about matters relating to workplace safety.
Regardless of how much care and attention is given to safety rules, accidents will happen and when they do, employees need to know where they can find a well-stocked first aid kit or even where to reach a fire extinguisher in a hurry.
Managers and employees all need to be kept up to date with information about what accidents and incidents have occurred in a particular work environment or in similar situations in other locations. Many employers now have a dedicated workplace safety communication specialist who is responsible for collating information about events and transmitting that to everyone in the organisation. An example of that is a major airline that employs highly qualified researchers who question the airline's staff on a regular basis about matters that they think need attention. This includes operating procedures, training programs and situations that led to accidents or incidents. Employers need to be proactive and in that way, they prevent avoidable loss and injury.
Occupational training is a vital part of avoiding workplace injuries and accidents. Everyone in a business, school, office, factory or another work environment has to be trained. Learning on the job is a traditional method of gaining a useful workforce but even apprentices and interns receive pre-employment induction and training. Employment training often takes place at a private or government facility where new people earn certificates that are a mandatory requirement before they can start on the job training.
There are many jobs that carry some risk despite the changes to industrial legislation, so employers have a responsibility to ensure that people carrying work that can be hazardous have someone in attendance to assist when something goes wrong.
Workers have a right to a safe working environment
Workplaces are a lot safer now due to education, strict laws, and busy inspectors, but some enterprises are not up to standard. Everyone should be encouraged to keep an eye out for ways to further improve the safety of themselves and colleagues. Do not hesitate to bring up new ideas and put forward suggestions to a supervisor or manager.