Tips for improving workplace risk awareness
Around 13% of spinal cord injuries in Australia are experienced in the workplace, according to a 2018 report by The Australian Institute for Health and Welfare (AIHW).
However, due to data limitations, it is accepted that this figure is likely to be an underestimation.
“If we use this conservative estimate, it would mean that there would be 52 new spinal cord injuries resulting from work-related activities every year — that’s the equivalent of one every week,” said Darron Shields, Business Support Manager, Paraplegic Benefit Fund (PBF Australia), a non-profit organisation that seeks to reduce the incidence and impact of spinal cord injury in Australia.
“No matter what type of work you do, there is a risk of a workplace injury that may result in a lifelong impact.”
Noting that it can be difficult to disseminate essential messages regarding safety policies, procedures and acceptable conduct across in the workplace, PBF has the below tips to help employers change the way they communicate about safety.
How to increase workplace risk awareness
According to Shields, companies, employers and employees can increase the awareness of the risks within a workplace by:
- Involving everyone in health and safety: Encourage employees to take ownership of their own safety and to share their ideas for the management of risks as well as the prevention of injuries.
- Identifying hazards in the workplace: Provide employees with training that is up-to-date with the latest best practices for the identification of hazards and explain how this can impact their risk of injury.
- Developing a workplace environment that encourages employees to give feedback around safety risks at an early stage, so that they can trust that the company will make their workplace safe at all costs.
- Providing employees with clear and easy-to-follow policies and processes, enabling them to review and control risks frequently. Update these policies and processes as required.
Informing employees of any new dangers/risks that are not associated with standard safety protocols (such as the COVID-19 protocols).
Noting that education, innovation and collaboration will be essential to achieve the targets set for WHS outcomes, Shields will be speaking at the upcoming Workplace Health and Safety Show, taking place from 31 May to 1 June 2023 in Brisbane.
Shields’ presentation, ‘Modelling Positive Behaviour’, is scheduled from 9:15–10:00 am on 31 May, at the Spotlight Stage.
Interested professionals can view the complete program and register for free, at https://www.whsshow.com.au/brisbane/program.
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