TAPBA’s recent Business Breakfast focused on Health and Safety in the workplace, and how to keep it simple.
Speaker James Williamson of Flying Pigeon told us how to identify hazards and record incidents and near misses. He says keeping it simple is key, and everyone should be involved in Health and Safety in the workplace, not just management.
Personal experience of a serious workplace incident is what led James to becoming a Health and Safety consultant. He spent three years in bed with chemical poisoning, and through Flying Pigeon, now delivers H&S Management Systems, testing and training.
James says in New Zealand, Health and Safety has traditionally been mocked, despite our nation being active in high risk industries such as forestry, farming, manufacturing, construction, and mining. Our attitude toward H & S as a nation is such that we are twice as likely to have an accident here, than in Australia.
“They are 20 years ahead of us with Health and safety,” says James.
Going by our last year’s figures, 32,766 people each year take a week off work because of an incident.
James says business owners and managers need to communicate with staff around hazards and have regular conversations, any time staff are gathered in one place.
Tips for your own workplace H & S:
- Keep a hazard register on the wall of your office and review it constantly and if your workplace has hazardous substances on the premises, keep a Hazardous Substances Register.
- If an injury occurs and requires hospital treatment, ACC will initiate a Worksafe investigation. Otherwise, record the injury in your register along with any near misses, so you can learn from them. James suggests taking a photo with your phone, and recommends downloading the Safer Me app.
- Also record any safety training in your register. James recommends all businesses should have someone trained in First Aid, although this is not mandatory. If you have a group of willing workers, you can all attend a first aid course together.
- Keep it simple.