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Small Business Workplace Health & Safety

WITH OVER 5 MILLION PEOPLE ACROSS THE NATION EMPLOYED IN SMALL BUSINESS, UNDERSTANDING WORKPLACE HEALTH AND SAFETY PROCESSES IS AN ESSENTIAL PART OF BUSINESS. SAFETYLEC HAS BEEN HELPING CAIRNS BUSINESSES TO STAY COMPLIANT AND EMPLOYEES TO STAY SAFE.

Both locally and nationally, the Australian economy is reliant on small business. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there are over two million actively trading companies in Australia, with an overwhelming 98 per cent of them employing under 20 staff. Even small businesses have their own hazards, of course, which are easily overlooked as independent operators often need to manage all aspects of safety themselves. Small businesses – like any business – have an obligation to ensure they protect themselves and their team.

No one wants to think that going to work doing something they’ve done a thousand times before may have consequences, which is where a good workplace health and safety plan becomes vital. Cairns-based Workplace Health and Safety business, Safetylec Management Solutions, has been in the business of keeping businesses safe for over twenty years. Managing Director Andrew Maunder and his wife and Operations Manager, Monique, have developed a range of training sessions from corporate safety, fire safety, safety from heights and electrical safety, to name a few. And with Andrew’s background as an electrician

in the commercial, industrial, and mining sectors, there is significant experience to support industry with WHS consultancy.

“All businesses have trouble spots when it comes to safety,” says Andrew. “They key is being able to identify those issues before they actually become issues. As a small business owner, your employees are your most valuable asset, so make sure you’re doing your part to keep them safe.”

THE 5 KEY STEPS TO KEEPING YOUR BUSINESS COMPLIANT

1

KEEP IT SIMPLE

Workplace Health and Safety doesn’t need to be complicated. Keep the policy simple and make sure intentions are included, objectives set and specific responsibilities allocated to each staff member. Support this policy with an action plan aimed at continually improving health and safety in the workplace. Don’t forget to include the responsibilities involved in engaging contractors.

2

COMMUNICATE

WHS needs everyone involved, all the way through from the CEO to the apprentice. In small business, this sounds easy enough, but the key here is to communicate and keep records of where safety procedures are up to. Business owners are ultimately responsible for the safety in their workplace and need to research the health and safety requirements that apply to them.

Once this is understood, it’s important to write a health and safety strategy to clearly outline a commitment to safety. Without clearly written documents, it’s difficult to hold people accountable for their safety duties and responsibilities.

3

BUSINESS MANAGEMENT

Treat a WHS plan as part of doing business, not as an add on. Under WHS legislation, employers are required to have appropriate consultation arrangements in place. These arrangements need to take into account the industry risks, workplace locations and other factors. Regularly consult on all safety matters and keep communication open to ensure effective safety systems can be established. It’s a good idea to plan regular safety meetings (these can take the form of a BBQ breakfast or lunch) into a schedule and to keep a documented record of the agreed actions arising from them.

5

Don’t try to manage everything yourself. Engage with third party specialist business like Safetylec for guidance, advice and training.

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