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Week 1 - Keeping all workers safe - National Safe Work Month

Everyone has the right to be safe at work. 

The changing workforce considers a range of workers and high-risk industries in the current workforce and what the future workforce may look like by 2060.

Keeping all workers safe
Everyone has a responsibility to manage hazards and risks at their workplace. If you’re a person conducting a business or undertaking, you must ensure your workers are safe and healthy at work.

Some workers may be at greater risk of injury or illness in the workplace. Hazards to consider for your workers may include:

  • Language barriers to understanding WHS duties 
  • Inadequate supervision or training 
  • Bullying or lateral violence 
  • Workplace sexual harassment
  • Workplace violence and aggression

In order to think safe, work safe and be safe you should implement work health and safety control measures to reduce risk and avoid work health and safety incidents.

Safe Work Australia has developed a range of resources to assist PCBU’s and workers in understanding their WHS responsibilities, identifying risks and managing control measures to reduce the risks.

When English is not your first language

Your workplace may have workers who do not speak English as their first language. Have you thought about the best way to communicate health and safety messages in your workplace? 

There are a number of steps you can take to ensure the health and safety of workers who speak English as a second language: 

  • Download key translated WHS material from Safe Work Australia or your WHS regulator.
  • Provide face-to-face inductions or training sessions to allow workers to ask questions.
  • Identify a work buddy who may be able to provide support in their language.
  • Encourage workers to report any WHS hazards or risks they see in the workplace and assure them that under Australian WHS laws they can’t be disadvantaged for doing so.

Think safe. work safe. be safe. this October and talk openly with your workers about health and safety concerns and work together to find solutions.

Workers with non-standard work arrangements or hours

Part-time, casual, contract and labour hire workers are likely to have differing work schedules and differing levels of experience. These workers need a safety induction too so they can think safe. work safe. be safe.

There are a number of steps you can take to ensure safety for all workers no matter the hours they work or how they are engaged:

  • Provide safety inductions or training sessions at different times to ensure all workers are included.
  • Ensure any changes in the workplace are communicated to all workers, through posters or regular meetings.
  • Make safety chats or meetings regular and inclusive so all workers can have a say.
  • Consult with other PCBUs involved in any work arrangement to jointly identify and manage risks to safety.

Young workers

Young workers, due to their inexperience in the workplace, may not notice when a situation becomes dangerous. They may also be less sure about asking questions or raising safety concerns. 

There are a number of steps you can take to ensure safety for young workers:

  • Ensure an appropriate level of supervision relevant to the task they are performing. 
  • Provide safety inductions, training sessions and support.
  • Use the ‘tell me, show me, watch me’ approach to new tasks. 
  • Identify a mentor who can provide feedback and support.

Think safe. work safe. be safe. by ensuring all workers know how to stay safe and healthy in the workplace.

Older workers 

Older workers provide many advantages for businesses and organisations, including the retention of organisational knowledge, diversity of skills and ideas, and enhanced productivity and innovation.

Older workers are not any more likely to experience an injury or illness at work but when they do it is more likely to be serious or result in a fatality. As for workers at all ages, falls, body stressing and vehicle incidents are areas where more needs to be done to prevent injury. 

As older workers continue to represent a larger proportion of the labour force, it is important that persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) consider the systems required to ensure that everyone in the workplace, including older workers, are able to work safely. PCBUs also need to support older workers to return to work following an injury to continue to reap the benefits of multigenerational workplaces.

Quad bikes

Every year quad bikes are a major cause of death and serious injury in rural workplaces. 

From 11 October 2021, new safety requirements for quad bikes will come into effect. New models must have rollover protection and improved stability, so they’ll tip less easily. If you’ve been thinking about upgrading or buying a new quadbike, you will be able to purchase one with these improved safety features. 

Quad bikes aren’t always the best option for every job. Always think about the work ahead before choosing a vehicle. A motorbike, side-by-side vehicle or a ute may be a safer choice. And remember, never let children ride adult quad bikes. 

Build an approach

To think safe. work safe. be safe. you should build a comprehensive, proactive and preventative approach to health and safety at work.

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