Workplace safety trends: What’s new?
When thinking about workplace safety, what images or themes come to mind? Perhaps you picture a hard hat and safety goggles, or maybe it’s the idea of online training and information sharing. The fact that either of those images can be used to describe workplace safety is proof in itself that standards are incredibly diverse and much different to the standards of just a couple years ago.
Safety trends today
Driving the need for change in 2017 comes down to two things: the need for speed of information and time savings for the people conducting safety audits and investigations, explained Cameron Cranstoun, Health, Safety and Environment Manager of Bayside Group.
According to Cameron, the digital age is driving the way businesses are run, so there is a big push for use of electronic media for completing forms and assessments. But the digital age isn’t the biggest concern in Australia.
Drug and alcohol testing and compliance, particularly in the building industry, is a big focus for Australian businesses. The Alcohol and Drug Foundation in Australia has found that 1 in 10 workers across the country have been affected by a co-worker’s misuse of alcohol whether that be just a hangover or intoxication at the time of the incident, resulting in everything from loss of productivity to actual accidents or close-calls.
“There is a big necessity to keep up with a society that has a problem with drug use. Especially within the rural areas of Australia,” said Cameron.
Safety standards still need improving
So what workplace safety protocols do businesses need to address in order to provide a better space for their employees?
“I think some businesses neglect the importance of the consultation process in resolving workplace safety issues in the small to medium size. This includes the training of staff in risk management notably in the recruitment and labour hire areas of business.
“Small businesses do not have the expertise, skills, knowledge to properly protect their employees from hazards in the workplace.”
“Small businesses do not have the expertise, skills, knowledge to properly protect their employees from hazards in the workplace. For example, fatigue management and the role it plays in the injuries that occur in our workplaces. This is a difficult area to deal with because there is no current way of testing for fatigue.”
Enforcing workplace safety
How can employers enforce standards?
“With the Drug and Alcohol use that may impact at work, I think all you can do is educate employees on the dangers, reinforce your companies policies and procedures and test employees prior to starting and have ongoing testing in the workplace.”
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