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Risk assessments: The best way to ensure your health and safety standards aren't sending your employees to their death bed!

by , 03 May 2013
'We are killing our workers!' These aren't the words of murderous managers. Instead, the phrase is from a major independent report released yesterday on the state of New Zealand's workplace safety culture. While New Zealand's been shocked into drastically improving its health and safety standards, your company can follow suit. All you need to do is implement more risk assessments in the running of your everyday business.

 
New Zealand's workplace safety culture is "not fit for purpose", with one in 10 workers harmed at work in some way every year in the country, says Stuff.
 
This workplace incident rate is up to 25% higher than in Australia and Britain, which have stringent health and safety measures in place.
 
The main reason?
 
There's a high tolerance for risk and poor attitude towards regulation and workplace health and safety in general in New Zealand.
 
That's because New Zealand's lacking a culture of being able to report hazardous situations and have them remedied, says Stuff.
 
And you may not realise it, but your company has many obligations to protect your employees' health and safety too.
 
Here's why you need to comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act!
 
Because under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), you have to make sure you're doing all you can to protect your employees' health and safety in the workplace, says FSP Business.
 
If not, your business will face a R100,000 fine, two years in jail or both, warns the Health and Safety Training Manual.
 
That's why it's a good idea to take preventative action against any health and safety risks that could harm your employees.
 
By knowing the specific health and safety risks in your company, you'll be able to take specific steps to prevent health and safety incidents in the first place, and minimise their impact if something still slips through the cracks.
 
It's easier than you think.
 
All you need to do is make sure you've appointed a health and safety representative.
 
Then, make sure he regularly conducts risk assessments.
 
Your health and safety representative can meet three of his responsibilities just by conducting regular risk assessments!
 
By doing so, he'll be effectively ticking off three of his main responsibilities.
 
These include:
  1. Reviewing the effectiveness of the health and safety measures in his area of responsibility,
     
  2. Assessing the potential hazards to the health and safety of the employees at the workplace, and
     
  3. Investigating complaints from other employees relating to their health and safety, says the Health and Safety Advisor.
Because when it comes to health and safety, prevention is always better than cure.
 

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