Safe Work Australia is a statutory body of the national Government that has been working since 2008 to develop policy around workplace health and safety. As part of their effort to advocate safe working practices and knowledge around them, October has been dubbed National Safe Work Month. The organisation is promoting education around safe working conditions, the benefits of which extend outside of industry and into our communities.
How can poor safety standards affect the community?
"The whole community bears the cost of poor work health and safety."
Diane Smith-Gander, Chair of Safe Work Australia, stated that work-related injury costs Australia $61.8 billion per year (equivalent to 4.1 per cent of Australia's GDP). This amounts to approximately $5000 per worker. Increased childcare costs during recovery or spouses taking time off work to assist during rehabilitation are other financial factors that should be considered.
What these costs don't cover though, are the indirect effects of these injuries. Grief, trauma and psychological distress are outcomes we can't measure, and these secondary effects of unsafe working practices may be costing our communities even more. Smith-Gander explains that "the whole community bears the cost of poor work health and safety."
How can we improve workplace safety across the board?
There's no single measure for improving workplace health and safety - it's not something that can be done single-handedly, nor once and for all. The key to success in preventing accidents and ensuring the safest possible conditions for your workers lies in maintaining an open dialogue. Safety campaigns and initiatives should be run regularly, and it's important to maintain a platform for workers to raise concerns. This is extremely important in the industrial sector, though safe working conditions should be employed in all industries.
The job can be tough, regardless of what it is. Between KPIs and external deadlines, it's not uncommon for workers to find themselves in stressful situations. A 2011 report from Safe Work Australia regarding motivations for and attitudes towards safety, outlines how a lack of knowledge is far from the most common cause of workplace injury. It's much more likely to occur when workers prioritise other goals above safety, or are too narrowly focused to identify risk.
It's not enough just to know the best practices around safety in your industry - an environment that fosters implementation of these practices is essential.
Webforge can help you get there
Establishing a safe workplace is certainly no small journey, but it has to start somewhere. Webforge is dedicated to supplying the best quality safety barriers, handrails and platforms. We've been keeping workers safe across a huge range of industries for over 70 years. If you need a hand boosting safety measures in your operation, get in touch with us today.