October is Safe Work Australia Month, so it seems a good time to check whether you are doing enough to protect your employees. While intentions may be good, the high number of workplace accidents this year would indicate that many organisations require better safety management system training.
I mentioned ‘good intentions’ for a reason; no employer wants a serious accident or death on their conscious, so I would hope that all organisations have some sort of procedure in place. But is it enough? With increasingly strict legislation being put in place, I would suggest not.
At this point most SMEs would throw up their hands and say they already have enough to handle, and don’t need any more bureaucracy. That’s exactly why they should be looking at implementing an Integrated Safety Management system (IMS).
As the name would suggest, an Integrated Safety Management system works by combining an organisation’s safety procedures with other parts of the business, thus reducing documentation and duplication.
Clear Roles and Responsibility
Workplace safety is closed linked with environmental management, HR procedures, even quality assurance, so an IMS makes perfect sense – especially for SMEs. Imagine only have one set of procedures to follow, one set of documentation and, most importantly, one audit.
An Integrated Safety Management system establishes clear roles and responsibilities, with management directly responsible for the safety of not only employees, but also other stakeholders, including customers, suppliers and contractors.
An IMS takes away any ambiguity – everyone understands their role and responsibility, and receives the training necessary to successfully fulfil those roles. It also helps set priorities, so that every task becomes manageable.
As of 6 September, 2016, 117 Australian workers had been killed at work. Think of the repercussions of that. 117 families torn apart, dealing not only with grief, but also with the huge financial burden of losing a breadwinner. Think of the psychological effect on that person’s workmates, and on the employer, never mind the huge cost to the business, and likely prosecution.
Nobody ever wants to deal with that and, an Integrated Safety Management system in place, you’ll probably never have to.