AIHS calls for appropriate resourcing for aviation sector

Wednesday, 14 September, 2022

AIHS calls for appropriate resourcing for aviation sector

A health and safety case study shown on Four Corners on Monday, 5 September 2022, on the ABC, has highlighted the importance of employers engaging appropriate levels of workers who have the right skills and capabilities. When operations are not appropriately resourced, performance gaps can emerge, exposing workers and others to higher risks of health and safety incidents.

Representatives from the Australian Institute of Health & Safety (AIHS) were troubled by its findings. While not in a position to comment on the specifics of the case study, AIHS work health and safety professionals know that directors have duties to challenge executives’ decisions to cut resources, insofar as those decisions impact the risk profile of organisations’ performance. Critical risks (such as those associated with aviation operations) require multiple and coordinated controls, and the organisation needs to test for the presence and effectiveness of these controls. It is important that organisations have effective means in place through which workers can raise health and safety issues to management.

AIHS Chair Naomi Kemp said that large Australian employers should be leading the way on health and safety and that the case study demonstrated the risk and impacts of short-term thinking in cutting costs. Kemp called on directors to think about material business risks through not just a health and safety lens, but a reputational lens, too.

“Health and safety professionals and practitioners are often left to advise duty holders on how to best mitigate risks to health and safety after key decisions have been taken by executives. Facilitating early input from health and safety professionals into these decisions can help mitigate unintended consequences. The potentially public nature of the fallout means the impacts are felt across the business, to customers, and through to the share price in publicly listed entities,” Kemp said.

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