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New reports inform work health and safety policy and practice

As organisations fine tune their work health and safety (WHS) policies and practices, staying on top of the latest industry information is just as important as attaining the appropriate tools and resources. 

Tools to improve WHS practices

Safe Work Australia, one of the leading advisory bodies on WHS, recently published a series of new research reports to provide substantive guidance in efforts to improve employee health and safety. 

“The research provides great insight into the extent to which Australian employers and workers are consciously aware of health and safety in their workplace and actively try to manage risks,” Safe Work Australia Chief Executive Officer Michelle Baxter said. 

There are four publications in the series, covering the following topics: 

  • Mindfulness of Work Health and Safety in the Workplace: The extent to which Australian employers and staff are aware of WHS policies and procedures 
  • Sources of Work Health and Safety Information in Australian Workplaces: How these individuals attain information on the topic 
  • Transport Industry – Synthesis of Research Findings: Factors that need to be addressed in the transport industry specifically 
  • Work Productivity Loss in Young Workers: How frequently young workers have back and neck pain, and what this ailment means for productivity 

The report ‘Sources of Work Health and Safety Information in Australian Workplaces’ provided some alarming statistics:

  • Eighteen per cent of medium-sized businesses do not provide ANY form of WHS information or training
  • Almost a quarter (24 per cent) of manufacturing businesses do not offer ANY form of WHS information or training
  • Only one-third of employers provided WHS information or training to contractors and subcontractors

All businesses have a duty of care, so far as is reasonably practicable, to ensure the health and safety of workers and other people exposed to business operations. Many people may not realise that a ‘worker’ not only covers employees, but extends to contractors, subcontractors, on-hire workers, apprentices, trainees, work experience students and volunteers. 

Spotlight on manufacturing: The need for more training

In 2011-12, manufacturing represented 9 per cent of the Australian workforce, amounting to 1.00 million people.

Safe Work Australia identified the manufacturing industry as a priority industry for WHS in the 2012-22 Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy due to the high number and rate of work-related injuries and illnesses, and inherent risks associated with working in the industry. Considering the lack of training, it is not surprising there is a higher rate of work-related injuries in this sector.

As part of a WHS program, it is critical that all businesses, large or small, provide inductions and training to all workers.

WorkPro, an online induction and employee screening solution provider, offers a broad course library of induction training modules for various industries, including manufacturing.

The manufacturing module outlines the risks and controls associated with the industry, such as:

  • Being trapped by machinery
  • Being struck by a forklift or load
  • Falls and uses of hazardous substances
  • Workplace stress, including a definition, common causes, how to identify and manage workplace stress and some helpful tips

It also provides information on the appropriate ways to maintain safety in a general manufacturing environment. 

For additional information about WHS modules and solutions, contact WorkPro today.

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