Trying to keep your workforce compliance under control with so many changes to regulations can be a tiring and stressful job. We share some simple steps you can take now to tick the right boxes and put your mind to rest in 2018.
When you’re working hard towards business goals in the new year, the last thing you want to think about is safety or workforce compliance. It’s one of the most critical items on your list to keep your team active and working hard, but the process to understand it all (let alone implement anything new) can be incredibly time-consuming.
The facts don’t lie, however. The fines and penalties for workforce non-compliance can be heavy. If Fair Work knocks on your door and your records aren’t up to scratch, you could be in for a lot more than a slap on the wrist.
Employers face up to $3,000,000 and imprisonment for breaches of Work Health & Safety laws in Australia.
Thankfully with the right systems in place, you can relax knowing these fines will never hit your business. That means more time focused on achieving success and less watching over your shoulder for an auditor. Here are some actions you can take now to set yourself up for compliance confidence this year.
1. Staff onboarding & inductions
One area where many employers fall short is their induction program for work health & safety. While many know it’s part of good practice, most inductions are generally reviewed only during an audit, or if an incident or accident occurs in the workplace.
A complete WHS induction should include:
- Generic safety that relates closely to the persons role or industry.
- Mandatory training & education in bullying, managing stress & privacy
- Include competency-based assessment to confirm the learner’s understanding
- A site-specific induction
- If the person’s role changes a review of their completed inductions & re-education or new training if appropriate
- Regular refresher safety training
- A method to report, manage, review & track incidents, near-misses or improvements
Yes, you can take candidates through your job-related training when they arrive for Day 1. But there’s still a range of topics that must be covered that can take hours of your time – areas like bullying and harassment, discrimination, manual handling, stress management and more should be recorded as completed training to keep auditors off your back.
A great way to deliver all of this training is with a trusted online inductions & eLearning platform. This ensures the inductions your staff go through all universal, updated and recorded automatically. On top of that, you’ll save costs on your own staff delivering the content and can have new starters complete it all before they even start on the job. If you ever need to prove your business is compliant, an online solution puts it all in one place (and you can access it anywhere, anytime from your pocket).
2. Shape up your safety documents & compliance records
The first thing an auditor or inspector will ask for when they walk through your doors is to understand your work safety processes & procedures.
For a lot of employers this request creates a flurry of rushing around the office, digging through dusty paperwork and clicking through a pile of outdated spreadsheets.
If you are using a paper system to track your workforce, it’s a good idea to review how it works and ensure the storage is effective and all in one place. If it can be deployed fast in case of an emergency, you’ll feel more at ease during the working day if an accident occurs.
Another alternative is using online systems to manage information. WHS and compliance platforms are built for exactly this purpose, so your data is accessible 24/7 with the use of a single login and password. Many training platforms also track staff completions for you. This can be a lifesaver if you need to prove your compliance.
Some great apps to help you stay on top of your safety records are Myosh and Safetyculture. If you’re looking for an all-in-one solution that delivers training as well as records it, the WorkPro platform could be perfect for you.
3. Streamline your onboarding
One of the best ways to take work safety off your mind is by setting up a template for all staff to follow. By investing some time to set this up now, you can create a step-by-step process for each employee or job type to ensure everyone meets the right requirements.
To prove this, it’s critical you also have a system of tracking which parts of your onboarding that staff have finished. What you don’t want is to have an injury on the worksite and discover they didn’t finish the training that was assigned to them.
Make sure you do your research and have a correct and updated checklist to take all of your workers through when they start on the job. Great places to start are your National & State-based Safety Regulators and the Fair Work Ombudsman.
Compliance includes more than just safety
Compliance with safety laws are critical to mitigate employee injury. But that’s not where the task ends – there are a number of other elements that are just as important to meet industry and Government requirements for compliance.
Here are two of the most important boxes to sign off on for every new employee that starts a role at your business.
4. Citizenship & Work Rights check
All employers are obligated to confirm a staff member’s citizenship. This is particularly important if you are employing non-Australian citizens. Before you sign any new contract, you must perform a Work Rights check using the Department of Home Affairs VISA entitlement verification (VEVO check.
Recently the regulations in Australia have become increasingly strict since the abolishment of the 401 Visa for non-citizens. The Government will be cracking down on non-compliance in this area after the Visa is removed from March, 2018. It’s imperative that you’re ready if they come knocking.
The good news is these Work Rights checks are a fast and simple process to complete. You can order individual checks or bulk group either directly through the Government or through an official provider like WorkPro where all checks can be centrally managed & tracked. The service should be online, connect with VEVO and return your results quickly so you can get your staff verified and starting work fast.
5. Check staff licence & document requirements
A number of industries require licences, tickets or other certifications for an individual to perform a task or role. This can be anything from a forklift licence, a Responsive Service of Alcohol badge (RSA) or even a Microsoft Accreditation.
If you require any ongoing renewals for these items to stay compliant, it’s particularly important to stay on top of them before they slip through the cracks. A licence that is one day overdue could make or break your compliance audit when crunch time comes.
Ensure you have a smart process in place to keep across all renewals before it’s too late. A number of licence management tools and online platforms can assist with this. Dropbox and Google Drive can be useful here. If you’re looking for a more comprehensive solution with smart notifications to make your life easier, try WorkPro free for 30 days and see what you think.
Want to find out more about how to meet the safety and compliance requirements in your industry? Contact WorkPro today to see how we can help.