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Will Australia and New Zealand follow?

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A recent ruling in the US by OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) has mandated that employers with 250 employees or more must electronically submit their injury and illness data records to OSHA. Prior to this ruling, it was required that companies must simply keep these records in accordance with OSHA regulations. So why the push to actually submit them?

According to OHS Online,“OSHA hopes that making occupational injury and fatality cases immediately available and visible to employers and employees across the country will influence them to take further safety measures.”

Essentially, there is value in transparency. If everyone’s cards are on the table, companies will be less likely to cut corners and more likely to do their best in creating safer workplaces for staff.

Time will tell whether Australia and New Zealand will follow suit with a similar regulatory requirement, however one thing is for sure; the importance of reliable Safety Management software is indisputable.

Currently in Australia and New Zealand, the ISO4801 states that businesses must have a safety system in place by law, and incidents that cause injury or fatalities must be reported to Worksafe using Worksafe’s own notification system. While this legislative obligation holds companies accountable, the new law in the US takes things one step further by publishing the collected data publicly. This not only holds all companies accountable but also allows businesses to learn from others mistakes. (Interestingly, this new law has come into effect during a time of massive deregulation by the Trump Administration, which we will be covering in a follow up blog soon.)

A statement on this “final rule” from OSHA reads, “Behavioral economics tells us that making injury information publicly available will ‘nudge’ employers to focus on safety.” They also predict that “this regulation will improve the accuracy of data by ensuring that workers will not fear retaliation for reporting injuries or illnesses.”

To this day, there are countless examples of companies in both Australia and New Zealand, both private and public, skirting the law by not meeting the minimum standards of a safety management system. This failure to adhere to regulations has cost ANZ businesses hundreds of thousands in penalties - often a catastrophic blow that companies struggle to recover from.

Recently, Queensland saw its first category 1 prosecution under work safety laws. The two family-owned businesses and their Directors will stand trial after the death of a 62 year old roofer. There have also been cases where whistleblower employees have leaked photos of poor health and safety practises, resulting in national negative media coverage for prominent organisations.

A solid safety management system is not just a nice-to-have asset to an organisation. It is required by the law and as the world moves to a paperless, electronic system of regulatory reporting, dedicated health and safety software is the new normal.

If your business does not yet have Health and Safety Management software in place, it’s worth doing some research into what solution will best benefit your organisation.

If you're interested in learning more about how Vault software can solve your reporting problems, book a demo of our software today!


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