Safety, now I have started, where to now?
In our first safety instalment we looked at various approaches to identifying hazards. Now that you have identified the hazards what do you do next?
You need to understand the actual risks associated with the hazard. That sounds simple enough but often it is more multi-faceted than you think. Have you ever wondered why so many people get killed every month and why so many are badly injured? It is often due to the fact that the people within the business did not fully understand all of the potential risks associated with the hazards in their operations.
How about a real life example. We were recently asked to assist in the case of an electrical contractor in NSW who, as part of a new installation, had to pull cable up to where it needed to be installed. It was decided to manually pull the cable through to the installer as it ‚ ≤only took an hour’ to pull the cable through. The problem was that during that hour the person pulling the cable sustained damage to his forearm which has now cost approximately $27,000 in direct and indirect costs (wages, medical costs, foregone billable hours). The hazard was the manual task of pulling the cable through, the hire cost of the unit to automate this process was a few hundred dollars.
The injured employee was not even aware of what he had done until the following day and had performed similar tasks in the past. The fact that the task had been performed in the past does not make it OK, it just means that they had gotten away with it until the day someone was injured.
So, what to do in similar scenarios? The electrical contractor has now purchased the unit to automate the process which he says will last at least 10 years. What about your operations? Could you realise a lowering of your risk profile by simply buying a lifting trolley to assist with manual handling, a more ergonomic mouse for office staff (yes RSI is still a big cost) or re-adjusting the height of your stored goods so they are easier to reach? These are just some of the things that all businesses can do to lower their risk profile and make the workplace safer.
The lesson from the above example is that you need to take the time to assess the possible risks associated with the hazards you have identified and then put the things in place to either eliminate or minimise the chance of someone being injured.
See you next month!!
Would you like to know more about how Fresh HR Insights can help you with your Workplace Health and Safety needs including our soon to be launched online Management system then contact us using the form below.