In Greg’s last last blog he touched on the WHS structures and processes now rolled out routinely in large organisations (200+ employees). In this blog, we continue by encouraging SME’s to emulate their large business counterparts and suggest some immediate practical steps that will see your business well on the road to safety and compliance…
Unique yet? Think again!
Think how overwhelmed SME’s felt in 2011, when safety culture antagonists such as the WHS Act – Regulation and Codes of Practice come into effect…. ouch…
We need to discover creative ways to integrate safe practice into overall business conduct. Where it’s done really well, the big guys consult with the employees to define and document policy relating to work health and safety. Done effectively, health and safety outcomes are achieved in accordance with defined plans.
Ideally, this is measurable; in ways shown to be consistent with activities:
- consideration of legal requirements
- standards, codes and guidelines
health and safety hazards and risks, etc. Work health and safety management in SME’s should be approached with the same objectives in mind:
- effective SME safety governance – insisting that workers routinely demonstrate practices that reflect the commitment of the safety policy across every system of the business
Don’t forget that failure to exercise such due diligence may result in criminal conviction and/or significant financial penalty (yes, even for an SME). Due diligence is a new duty that requires SME owners/operators to not only have an understanding of their health and safety risk profile, but also to take positive steps to put in place ongoing safety governance and management arrangements.
How can SME’s meet their due diligence obligations?
You can start by bringing it to life with practical, bite-size steps such as:
- promoting workers’ knowledge and health and safety matters through effective consultation and training
- ensuring everyone understands the nature of the business, as well as the workplace risks and hazards
- insisting on a timely, documented response to incidents and issues
- providing reasonable resources that are appropriate to the degree and extent of organisational risk identified
If the due diligence process is built progressively, it will naturally lead to the capture of real-time ‘people data’, on the go. When this happens you will see that WHS, done well, can improve safety, prevent hazards and provide measurable improvement in adaptation and alignment within your business plan and overarching company strategy.
These are the must-do steps to ensure you comply with your work health and safety responsibilities:
- effectively implement your health and safety policy
- establish focussed health and safety training – for all officers and workers
- facilitate a consultative approach to all health and safety matter – ensuring all workers are a part of the decision-making processes that affect workplace health and safety
- identify quantitative and qualitative safety targets – with the aim of driving ongoing hazard and risk data collection and analysis
- implement agreed controls in response to identified risks and hazards
- broadcast regular health and safety information – to all workers and visitors to the workplace
If you are doing these things, you are well on the way to establishing a positive and effective safety culture!
If your SME needs help to grow a healthy safety culture, call Employee Matters ….