The study found that the majority of employers perceived that they empowered their staff frequently. 90% of the surveyed managers stated that their business takes on board the suggestions of staff regarding safety most of the time, while 88% indicated that they actively encourage workers to participate in the decision making process when it comes to their own safety. It is great to see that there is optimism and enthusiasm in regards to the approach companies take on safety, however there were some findings that demonstrate a disparity between employer’s perception versus reality. The study found that up to 25% of employers did not regularly empower workers to make safety a priority and did not engage in active consultation with workers. Additionally, it was found that employers did not always treat employees justly when investigating accidents. An alarming 50% of surveyed employers admitted that they did not collect information regarding incident investigations frequently.
Collecting information, consulting with workers and notifying EHS authorities of incidents are all duties required by legislation. Therefore, this study suggests that a substantial number of Australian employers are not meeting legislated compliance standards.
There is clearly a perception issue that needs to be addressed, where employers perceive that they are actively and effectively practicing safety empowerment, but the reality paints a different picture.
So what can be done to close the gap between perception and reality?
For safety to be practised uniformly throughout an organisation, it needs to be part of the important conversations at board level. If the executive leadership team doesn’t make health and safety a priority, then managers and staff on the ground won’t either. Make sure that EHS is an agenda item for every strategy, planning or budget meeting to solidify its importance.
Managers need access to support in order for them to meet health and safety compliance standards. There is an abundance of fact sheets, e-newsletters, blogs and industry information campaigns that can be used to stay up to date with legislation and best practice, most of which are free. Encourage managers sign up to these resources in order to keep safety top of mind in their day-to-day running of teams and departments.
Bring in Specialists:
External consultants can be brought in to help educate managers on how to reach, and even exceed, safety compliance. An external safety consultant will also give you an impartial point of view as to whether there is a gap between your perception of how safe your organisation is, and how safe it is in reality.
Most importantly, it is crucial for managers to keep open lines of communication with staff and actively empower workers to make safety an ingrained part of their behaviour. Educate staff on their rights, induct staff into safety policies and procedures and ensure everyone understands their own responsibilities in creating a safe workplace.
Don’t forget what’s at stake:
In 2016, there were 176 work-related deaths in Australia and 45 in New Zealand. We all have to do our part to put an end to workplace fatalities and the only way for us to achieve this is to shine a light on our shortcomings and actively work to improve them. Close the gap between the perception of safety and the reality of it. Empower your people to think safety, act safely and get home from work every day.
For more information on how Health & Safety software can help your organisation protect its people, assets and long term success, book a live demonstration of Vault today.
Risk and Safety Templates
For strategic safety professionals.
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