5 Steps to a Safe and Healthy Workplace

5 Steps to a Safe and Healthy Workplace
5 Steps to a Safe and Healthy Workplace teaser

18 Sep 2018

As we approach National Safe Work month, the team at Backsafe Australia thought it would be the perfect time to share the 5 steps to having a safe and healthy workplace. With these 5 steps you can commit to building a safe and healthy workplace for your employees.

1. Design Safe

Eliminating hazards and risks in the workplace through considered design is an essential first step to providing a safe environment for employees. Safe Work Month Australia’s Principles of Good Work Design handbook provides a practical guide on designing your workplace with the safety and health of your employees in mind.

  • What are the physical, mental and emotional demands associated with getting the work done?
  • Where is the work actually done and what is the working environment like?
  • What machines, equipment, materials, substances, vehicles and structures used?
  • Who’s doing the work and do they have the tools, skills and resources they need to do it safely?

2. Source Safe

Using good quality tools provides a safe foundation for the workplace. Ensure the right tools are on hand to complete each task in the workplace and provide employees with the training and guidance to choose the right tools for their job.
  • When buying materials and equipment, have you consulted the people who use them?
  • Are you buying equipment that’s designed for the task, fit for purpose, and suited to your unique workplace?
  • Are you sourcing from overseas and inadvertently importing risks?

3. Use Safe

Everyone needs to be involved in safety – make sure every employee has a “work safe’ mindset, especially those in areas that have increased potential risks. Have a culture of care for each other, and a system for reporting unsafe equipment or procedures.
  • Have you done a risk assessment?
  • If you know the risks are the right controls in place?
  • Is a safe work method or quick safety check always done before work starts?
  • Has everyone been trained appropriately?
  • Is the equipment being used as intended? Does everyone feel confident using it?
  • Is personal protective equipment required and does everyone know how to wear it?
  • Is the emergency plan up to date and understood?

4. Keep Safe

Equipment and procedures need to be maintained and kept up to date. Take the initiative with repairs, maintenance and servicing.
  • Has broken or damaged equipment been replaced?
  • Are your maintenance schedules up to date?
  • Can workers report breakdowns and malfunctions easily?
  • Are your systems and equipment contemporary?
  • Can kit be cleaned and stored appropriately?

5. Repeat

Have a continuous improvement plan in place and be aware of any changes to safety standards that could impact on your workplace.
  • Are your current risk controls still working?
  • Are there new or emerging risks which need to be controlled?
  • Have you made sure you are also controlling uncommon but potentially catastrophic risks?
  • Have you investing your work health and safety resources where there is the greatest potential for reducing harm?
  • Are you ready willing and able to respond to any early warning signs?

Adapted from ”Five steps to a safe and healthy workplace” by Safe Work Australia, used under CC BY 4.0.

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