Work health and safety laws in Australia require employers to provide a safe working environment for all their employees.
Going above and beyond by enhancing the health and safety of your workplace can bring about increased productivity and employee retention, reduced healthcare costs, and an overall improvement to your bottom line.
If you’re an employer or manager who wants to create a safer and healthier space for your team, then the tips below can help:
In addition to providing access to first aid kits and facilities, persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) should ensure the presence of personnel trained to administer first aid, either by providing the necessary basic training to their employees or hiring out for a certified first aider.
The benefits of providing adequate training and continuing education to your employees simply can’t be overstated. It can save lives. When your employees are trained in first aid and CPR, they’ll know what to do during an emergency situation. Training your employees on how to conduct their work safely and enforcing strict safety protocols can also significantly reduce incidences of workplace-related injury or illness.
Choose a meaningful training course that fits your specific workforce’s needs. According to Safe Work Australia, first aid qualifications should be renewed once every three years. An annual express CPR training certification refresher course is recommended for employees who already possess CPR certification.
Encourage open communication
Encouraging your people to speak up when they notice something at the workplace that could potentially harm their fellow employees is a good practice. As an employer, you may not be aware of certain safety issues at the workforce level. However, maintaining an open-door policy that motivates workers to check in with any areas they have concerns over can help you mitigate risks and avoid potentially disastrous situations, such as an employee injuring themselves or accidentally inflicting injury on someone else.
Keep all emergency exits clear
Emergency exits should be kept accessible at all times and never obstructed. Obstructions can slow down employees from getting to a safe area in the event of a fire, earthquake, or similar calamity. They can also be the source of additional injury to your workers, as clutter can cause evacuating persons to fall or trip over. Make sure that everyone knows where the emergency exits are, especially new hires who may not be familiar with your workplace layout. Conduct regular checks to verify that the exit path is always passable.
Improve workplace ergonomics
When we hear the word ergonomics, the image that often comes to mind is an office full of nine-to-fivers hunched over their desks. However, applied ergonomic solutions can do wonders for productivity and reduce healthcare costs regardless of industry or workplace setting. Encouraging stretch breaks, providing ergonomic chairs or standing desks, and educating your employees on the importance of proper posture can reduce pain and discomfort and lower your employees’ risk of developing repetitive stress injuries and work-related musculoskeletal disorders. Look into how you can improve the ergonomics for your specific scenario by performing a comprehensive risk assessment of the tasks your people are expected to do on a day-to-day basis.
Emphasise the importance of managing stress and mental health
According to the Australian Human Rights Commission, 45% of Australians will struggle with a mental illness at some point in their life. Research conducted by Mental Health Australia shows that businesses stand to lose $6.5 billion each year when they fail to provide early intervention or treatment to workers suffering from mental health conditions.
Highlighting the importance of mental health and alleviating workplace stress is crucial to maintaining productivity and a healthy work environment. Give your workers ample time to take breaks away from their tasks and support employee-led initiatives such as mental health meeting groups and counselling sessions.
Employees who know that they are cared for and valued look forward to spending more productive days in the workplace. Taking exceptional measures to ensure the well-being of your workers will make you an employer they would be happy and proud to come to work for.