The month of October if Safe Work Month in Australia. The month aims to raise awareness of work health and safety, encourage discussion about safety at work and share positive workplace stories from across Australia.
Gladstone is home to large industries and small business, so it is imperative to take the time to focus on health and safety in the workplace.
In 2015, 191 Australians died at work. While 96% of these deaths were men, it’s important to remember that their deaths affect the whole community – including families, co-workers and friends. During Safe Work Month, we encourage you to consider your health and safety to make sure you return home safely to your family.
Here are some initiatives that organisations across Australia have created and implemented in the workplace. These are all great initiatives that you can practice in your business or place of work:
Toolbox talks – Senior leaders conduct toolbox talks with personnel at the start of each day
‘Fresh eyes’ discussion – Discuss with your work team and use ‘fresh eyes’ to identify health and safety challenges and develop innovative solutions.
Family Health and Safety Day – A family day/morning at work to take part in activities and encourage a better health and safety culture in the workplace through the importance of family and lifestyle values.
Regular training – Keeping your employees and team up to date with first aid training, sun protection training, emergency training,
Health checks – Encourage workers to get regular health checks
Reward system – Implement a reward system for participation in health and safety procedures, or for those that suggest or implement new practices. For example, awards, recognition, healthy lunches for the team etc.
Are you ready for the unexpected?
The adequacy of occupational health and safety (OHS) in workplaces has been called into question with recent research highlighting some organisations are not first aid ready.
An estimated 117 Australian workers have been killed at work this year, and statistics reveal only 13% of organisations are confident they can use their first aid training to act quickly and decisively in a time of need.
St John Ambulance Queensland CEO Alex Hutton says: “Managers need to be aware of their responsibilities when it comes to the safety of their employees, contractors, and other people in the workplace.
“Workplace safety undoubtedly becomes a larger issue as a company grows and it is necessary and essential for managers to assess their operations regularly,” Mr Hutton said.
“Many organisations focus on increasing their efficiency but to do that completely they need to look at more than just their bottom-line, they also need to maintain workplace safety, so their staff is ready for the unexpected, risks are minimised, and people have a safe workplace.
“The concerning truth is that while there are efforts to build a safe environment for employees, not many companies are up-to-date on their first aid training skills to handle situations from a paper cut to something as drastic as a heart attack or stroke.”
“It’s disturbing and quite scary, knowing 85% of the Australian workforce has a knowledge gap this serious,” Mr Hutton said.
“Many people head to work each day and take their return home safely for granted.
“The reality is an estimated 117 Australian workers have been killed at work this year, and each one of these could have been prevented in as little as five minutes if the right training and first aid skills were readily available during that person’s work activity.
“Every person deserves to go home safely at the end of each day; safety should be the number one efficiency in every workplace, and it will put business leaders at ease knowing their employees are prepared for the worst case scenario.
“There’s nothing worse than knowing you could have done something to help if you knew what to do.”
St John Ambulance Australia is urging business leaders to participate in the National Safe Work Month this October and ensure their procedures and employees are up-to-date with their first aid skills.
St John Ambulance Australia is a self-funded charitable organisation and not-for-profit with all funds raised going to charitable and humanitarian work such as first aid and health care; education and products; and social inclusion and rabblement programs that empower the community with first aid skills.