Within the mining sector there have been 10 deaths. The Industrial Foundation for Accident Prevention is working hard to ensure businesses and workers alike have the necessary skills to prevent accidents, including launching the inaugural Fluoro Conference being held in November.
Martin Ralph, Managing Director of IFAP, says there is a lot employers can do to ensure fatality statistics continue to fall.
“Every day people turn up for work expecting that their safety is secured. Unfortunately that’s not always the case,” Mr Ralph said.
“There are number of simple things employers and workers alike can do to help create a safe workplace culture.”
1. Make a commitment to safety
To create a company culture with safety as a core aspect it also needs to be a core company value and objective. With this in place, members of the leadership team will recognise it as an imperative action and your employees will recognise its importance.
2. Talk about safety
The best way to raise awareness of safety issues and your company’s desire to improve is to bring safety into everyday conversation. This is not restricted to “hands on” roles but should also be part of conversations with management and supervisors. Just because they are not in an “at risk” role does not preclude them from the conversation.
3. Invest in safety
The conversation around safety is often founded on the cost of accidents. For example, lost time and loss of productivity. If you want to improve safety and the perception your employees have of it as an objective talk about “investing” in safety rather than “avoiding” cost.
4. Create a system for hazard prevention and control
This is paramount to reducing accidents, without a system for hazard prevention and control it’s near impossible to ensure all the checks and balances are covered.
5. Report on safety performance
Companies should be committed to reporting on safety performance. Not just because improvements are likely to bring business confidence, but also because reporting performance demonstrates you’re committed to improvements.
6. Encourage safe practices
Every person has an opportunity to improve how they go about their daily work. Encourage them to take the safer option by providing information and raising awareness of unsafe practises. But remember, the best way to encourage safe work practises is to create a culture where your employees are aligned with the company’s desire to improve safety.
7. Carefully analyse accidents
Most businesses will look at the “facts” of an accident such as they physical factors leading to the event. This is all well and good, but to get the real answers you may have to dig deeper. Look further into why the accident occurred rather than simply how it occurred.
8. Ensure company-wide buy-in
As with any objective, it’s likely to fail unless you have buy in from leadership, employees and contractors alike. To ensure safety is considered everyone’s responsibility, fully communicate what a safe workplace culture means and how it applies to your business. Explain each person’s role in that objective and how they can contribute to its success or failure.
9. Create a “just culture”
The idea of “just culture” revolves around the idea that punishing people for making mistakes does not solve the problem. Instead, the process undertaken during which the error occurred should be assessed. A company with a just culture recognises that systems and processes are to blame, not individuals. A just culture does, however, have zero tolerance for reckless behaviour.
10. Celebrate success
This is perhaps one of the most important factors – if your company reports improvements. Celebrate the success and, by doing so, offer your employees to also take pride in the achievement. By doing this you will help establish ownership of the safety objectives and, therefore, work to continuing the success.