Over 40,000 workplaces will be inspected in Australia in the coming year. Businesses of all sizes and industries will have an inspector walk through the door to identify problems. The reason is apparent, workplace safety needs compliance, and when enforced, the result can be positive, when ignored; deadly.
Statistics from Safe Work Australia show that in 2016, 182 workers were fatally injured at work. In 2012–13, work-related injury and disease cost the Australian economy $61.8 billion, representing 4.1% of GDP. Just two weeks ago BHP was fined $400,000 for an employee’s death at Olympic Dam in 2015. The good news? Workplace deaths have decreased by 49% since 2007 as a result of the improvement to safety practices.
Recent events should encourage employers to make sure their workplace is complying with the various codes of practice. Self-regulation and auditing is the most successful way to do this.
According to Safe Work Australia, the first thing is to identify the hazards in your workplace. You are on the lookout for anything with the potential to cause harm. Chat with your workers, ask them questions about what they have seen or believe to be unsafe or in need of attention.
Then assess the risks, so you need to make a judgment about the seriousness of each hazard you have identified. Then rank them concerning priority, which ones can cause the most significant harm and needs the most urgent attention.
Now act! Go through the list and fix the problems, making sure any potential new hazards are immediately identified. The risk needs to be removed. For more information on making sure you meet the criteria for when workplace inspection happens in your workplace go to:
So what happens when an inspector comes knocking?
They take issue notices, give directions, conduct interviews and make inquiries which can include taking photos, measurements, and samples. If an inspector finds serious health and safety breaches at a workplace, it may be referred for further investigation and the employer may be prosecuted. Find out more about the powers of WorkSafe inspectors under health and safety law and WorkSafe investigations and prosecutions.
If you would like help with identifying your Hazards and Risks, click here to download our complimentary Induction Kit.