Workplace Bullying

Did you know that your business is required to have policies and procedures in place to deal with workplace bullying?  Just because it’s never been an issue within your business doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare for it.  Then if it does rear it’s ugly head, you will be able to deal with it confidently, knowing exactly what your obilgations are.

Workplace bullying is defined as repeated and unreasonableWorkplace bullying behaviour directed towards a worker or a group of workers, that creates a risk to health and safety.

Safe Work Australia has produced a Guide to Preventing and Responding to Workplace Bullying booklet.  Click on the link at the bottom of this page to download a copy of the guide.

The guide provides information for business owners and managers on how to manage the risks of workplace bullying as part of meeting their duties under the health & safety laws.

It includes guidance on what workplace bullying is, how it can be prevented and how to respond to reports.

The following list details what is included in the guide.

  1. Introduction
  • How workplace bullying can occur
  • Impact of workplace bullying
  • Who has duties in relation to workplace bullying
  • How can the risk of workplace bullying be managed?
  1. Preventing Workplace Bullying
  • Identifying the potential for workplace bullying
  • Controlling the risks
  • Monitoring & reviewing
  1. How to respond to workplace bullying
  • How to respond to a report of workplace bullying
  • Principles when responding to reports of workplace bullying
  • Balancing confidentiality and transparency
  • Actions after reports of workplace bullying are resolved
  1. InvestigationsWorkplace bullying
  • Who should conduct an investigation
  • Informing the parties of the investigation
  • Outcomes of an investigation
  1. External Avenues
  • Work, Health & Safety regulators
  • Fair Work Commission

 

So, my suggestion would be to download this guide and start putting your workplace bullying policies and procedures into place.

Don’t forget, if you get stuck just shoot through an email to us,  and we’ll be able to give you a hand.

Workplace Bullying
Click here for the Guide

 

Acknowledgements:  www.safeworkaustralia.com.au, www.pixabay.com (images)

 

Mental Health in the Workplace

It’s not just your employee’s physical health you are required to keep safe whilst they are at work, it’s their mental health too.

Yesterday was “R U Ok?” day, so I thought I   Mental Health - RUOKwould write this post about mental health in the workplace.  “R U Ok?” day is a national charity which aims to inspire and empower everyone to meaningfully connect with the people around them and support anyone struggling with life.

As there will be many people talking about the cause at this time, it’s a great starting point to open a conversation with workers about mental health in the workplace.

Remember from the Work Health & Safety Act, an employer must, so far as is reasonably practicable, provide and maintain a safe and healthy work environment for their employees (including contractors).  This includes all types of health.

As with the physical health of employees, mental health has its own risks and hazards.  These include such actions as bullying,  work related stress, violence and fatigue.  A quick definition of each is below.

 Workplace Bullying

Workplace bullying is defined as repeated and unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or a group of workers that creates a risk to health and safety.

 Work related stress

Most people can cope with the daily stresses of work.  Some people  experience long lasting or excessive stress at work which can affect their mental well being.  An example would be if someone has a lot of demands put on them at work and they feel they are unable to meet their deadlines etc.  If they experience this on a regular basis they could feel work related stress.

 Work related violence

Work related violence includes abuse, threats and  assaults.  Obviously all of these actions contravene the health & safety policies of any business.

Work related fatigue

Work related fatigue increases the chance of incidents occurring and injuries resulting from those incidents.  At the very least productivity is adversely affected.  Fatigue is more than feeling tired or drowsy.  It is the ongoing state of tiredness that causes fatigue and stops people from functioning normally.

All of the above actions can directly affect an employee’s state of mental health.

As part of their Safety Management System, employers need to:-

  • Identify hazards and risks in the workplace in relation to employees mental health;
  • Make decisions about measures to be taken to prevent and manage work-related stress, bullying, violence and fatigue risks;
  • Make decisions about information and training;
  • Propose changes that may affect the health and safety of employees.

Along with the above, employers must also provide information, instruction, training and supervision to their employees to enable them to perform their work in a way that is safe and without risks to health.

Employers need to raise awareness of mental health within the workplace and include policies and practices into their workplace to promote in mental health wellbeing.

The flow on effect from having good mental health policies and procedures within your business is that it will bring with it increased employee morale and productivity.

There is a huge amount of information and strategies available for employers regarding workplace mental health online.

There is a great organisation called “Heads Up”  (www.headsup.org.au) which has tips and resources for employers to use.  Also take a look at the “Mental Health at Work” section of the Worksafe Queensland website (www.worksafe.qld.gov.au).  These are two sites are a great starting point for you to find all the information you need.

Mental Health - Heads Up

Mental Health - Worksafe Qld

Building a Safety Culture in Your Business

Safety Culture

Let me say from the get-go that building a safety culture in your business won’t happen overnight, it will take time and it will be an ongoing process.  It’s kind of like having a puppy (but without everything chewed up all over the lawn).  It needs to be nurtured and regularly checked.

Firstly, as a business owner you need to make a conscious decision that a safety culture is something you want and need to build into your business.  Safety is not something you can do once a week, or once a month.  You need to be living safety within your workplace every minute of every day.  That may sound very time consuming and a bit scary, but it will become second nature to you.  You will become more aware of what is going on around you in the workplace and you will notice a lot more areas where improvements can occur and where you are doing things well.  The first step is to set some goals over a period of time to introduce or improve safety within your business during that period.

No workplace is ever perfectly safe.  There are always hazards and risks.  The idea is to eliminate as many as possible, or minimize them if it’s not possible for them to be eliminated.

Once you have made the conscious decision to instill safety in your workplace you need to start the communication and consultation process.  This is where you start to get your employees involved.  You need their involvement as they may be doing tasks to you or they may see things differently to you.  Employees are a great source of information and hazard identification.  By getting your employees involved you are also increasing workplace morale.  They become included in the process.

Safety Culture flowchart

Develop your policies and procedures and define everyone’s roles
within those policies and procedures.  Commence training your employees so they know exactly what is required of them.  Once everyone, including owners and managers know what is expected of them they become accountable for their actions.

In your policies and procedures, provide a couple of different ways for your employees to be able to report any safety breaches or unsafe behaviours.  This could include notifying a manager or business owner in person or completing a form.  It is essential that your managers and business owners are approachable.  Staff need to feel comfortable in being able to report safety breaches or unsafe behaviours without any repercussions and knowing that business owners and managers will respond positively to any safety issues that are raised.

Ensure the polices and procedures you put in place are measurable so you can assess whether they are working or not.  Reviewing all policies and procedures is an ongoing process and feedback from employees will ensure your business continues to grow and remains a safe workplace.  Companies with a high safety culture often have less safety incidents, higher employee morale and higher productivity.

A really good idea is to sign up for regular updates from Safe Work Australia (www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au) and your state Worksafe website (in Queensland it’s www.worksafe.qld.gov.au).  They also have some great resources, so grab a cup of coffee and take some time to have a look around these websites.  Both Government entities also have Facebook pages for you to like and keep up to date.  Use these services to keep up to date with changes in legislation and best practice so you can amend your procedures and staff training accordingly.  Toolbox meetings or other regular safety meetings are great avenues to make sure everyone is up to date with new safety issues affecting your business and day to day operations.

If you do encounter a safety issue don’t forget to investigate it thoroughly and in a timely manner.  This goes for near misses as well as actual incidents, and don’t forget if it is a notifiable incident you are obligated to report it (see my previous blog post on “Incident Notification” if unsure).  Near misses can be used as a great learning tool.  They give you the opportunity to change specific procedures or do more training without having an actual incident occur.

If employees can see business owners and managers taking safety in the workplace, and continually working towards keeping everyone as safe as possible and providing ongoing support, employees will be more inclined to take part in the safety culture being built.  This can only encourage safer workplaces for us all.

Remember, safety in the workplace needs to be viewed as an investment not a cost.

 

Safe Work Australia logo

Worksafe Qld logo

 

 

 

 

 

Toolbox Talk

They can have many different names, but we call it a Toolbox Talk.  They are the safety meetings you have usually at the commencement of a shift.  It’s an informal meeting on what’s expected for that shift, or alternatively some businesses chose a different topic to highlight each day.

We use ours to discuss what is expected during that day/shift.

Toolbox Talk image blurred
Toolbox Talk Template

We discuss such things as:-

  • Which paddock we will be cutting
  • Which siding we will be using
  • The haul routes drivers are required to take
  • Hazard identification – power poles/lines, gullies/culverts, paddock conditions etc
  • Whether any visitors are expected during the shift
  • Reminder to do vehicle/machinery pre-starts
  • General safety tips
  • Anything else relevant to the days tasks

Employees are welcome and encouraged to add to the Toolbox Talk, thus encouraging health & safety discussions in our workplace.

 Don’t forget to document your Toolbox Meetings.  You can do this in various ways.  You can use a pre-printed form, do voice recordings and save these or any other way you can think of as long as you can retrieve the information if it is required by authorities.  We supply a Toolbox Talk template in our “Safe Harvesting” manual.

I understand that this is more paperwork that needs to be done – “When will it ever end?” I hear you say.   I totally understand what you are saying.   This health & safety journey we are all on involves a huge amount of paperwork/documentation, but it is necessary to protect your business.

So, if you aren’t already conducting Toolbox Talks, or not documenting them, think about implementing that soon.

If you need some help or advice, get in contact with us.

Incident Notification

Has an injury, illness or dangerous incident occurred at your workplace?

Do you know what to do if it does, or even under what circumstances you need to complete an Incident Notification?

This post is a very condensed, summary of Incident Notification and Incident Notification 2what you are required to do.   Both the Safe Work Australia and the Queensland Government websites have great fact sheets and information, which I have linked at the end of the post.

 Legally you are required to notify Worksafe Queensland of incidents that are serious/critical and dangerous in nature.

 

 So, what is a Notifiable Incident and what do you have to do?

A Notifiable Incident includes:

  • the death of a person
  • a ‘serious injury or illness’, or
  • a ‘dangerous incident’

arising out of the conduct of a business or undertaking at a workplace.

Notifiable Incidents may relate to any person—whether an employee, contractor or member of the public.

 

What is an injury or serious illness?

The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 sets out that a serious injury or illness of a person is:

  • an injury or illness requiring the person to have immediate treatment as an in-patient in a hospital
  • immediate treatment for the amputation of any part of a person’s body
  • a serious head injury
  • a serious eye injury
  • a serious burn
  • the separation of his or her skin from an underlying tissue (such as degloving or scalping)
  • a spinal injury
  • the loss of a bodily function
  • serious lacerations

There are some others, however these are the most common examples that will affect those of us in the cane industry.

 

What is a dangerous incident?

A dangerous incident is an incident in relation to a workplace that exposes a worker or any other person to a serious risk to a person’s health or safety emanating from an immediate or imminent exposure to:

  • an uncontrolled escape, spillage or leakage of a substance
  • an uncontrolled implosion, explosion or fire
  • an uncontrolled escape of gas or steam
  • an uncontrolled escape of a pressurised substance
  • electric shock
  • the fall or release from a height of any plant, substance or thing
  • the collapse, overturning, failure or malfunction of, or damage to, any plant that is required to be authorised for use in accordance with the regulations
  • the collapse or partial collapse of a structure
  • the collapse or failure of an excavation or of any shoring supporting an excavation
  • the inrush of water, mud or gas in workings, in an underground excavation or tunnel
  • the interruption of the main system of ventilation in an underground excavation or tunnel.

 

Who do I notify and how do I contact them?

You are legally required to notify both Worksafe Queensland (or the equivalent in your state) and Workcover (or your alternative insurer).  These are two separate entities and both need to be notified.

Notifications can be made in several ways.

  • Call Worksafe Queensland (or the equivalent in your state);
  • Lodge an incident notification online;
  • Print a form from the website and fax the notification through, or
  • Email

Every business will have access to at least one of these means.  Notification can be made 24 hours per day (there is always an inspector on call – for telephone notifications).

 

 Who is responsible for notifying and is there a time limit of the notification?

A PCBU must make the notification and this must be done immediately after becoming aware that a notifiable incident arising from the business or undertaking has occurred.

 

Can work continue where the incident occurred?

Work should cease where the incident occurred except in the following circumstances:-

  • to assist an injured person
  • to remove a deceased person
  • to make the site safe or to minimise the risk of a further notifiable incident
  • to facilitate a police investigation
  • a Worksafe Queensland Inspector has given permission

 

What records do I need to keep?

The person conducting a business or undertaking must keep a record of each notifiable incident for at least 5 years from the date notified to Worksafe Queensland.  This includes printing a copy of your incident report before sending it.  If you can’t print it take a screen shot or photo with your phone.

My advice is not to throw anything away.  When you do inductions and training with your employees, always keep a dated copy of any documentation or training books etc you use as these may be required by a Worksafe inspector.  This is why training and induction records are so critical to a business.

 

Electrical incidents and notifications

Electrical incidents are also notifiable.  These should be reported to the Electrical Safety Office once you become aware of a serious electrical incident or dangerous electrical event  that occurs because of the conduct of your business or undertaking.

Notification is required where a person:ergon clip

  • is killed by electricity
  • receives a shock or injury from electricity, and is treated for the shock or injury by or under the supervision of a doctor
  • receives a shock or injury from electricity at high voltage, whether or not the person is treated for the shock or injury by or under the supervision of a doctor.

A dangerous electrical incident is:-

  • whenever a person, for any reason, is electrically unsafe around high voltage electrical equipment, even if the person does not receive an electric shock or injury
  • significant property damage caused by electricity or something originating from electricity (e.g. electrical fire)
  • unlicensed electrical work
  • unsafe electrical work
  • unsafe electrical equipment or electrical equipment that does not have electrical equipment safety system (EESS) approval markings.

 

 Notifying authorities in case of an incident

With a non-electrical incident you must notify the Electrical Safety Office.  This can be done via the telephone, email, fax or completing an online form.

 

 Can work continue where the incident occurred?

As with a non-electrical incident, work should cease.  The difference with an electrical incident is that you never touch anyone who is receiving an electric shock.  Call 000, then turn off the power (if possible).  If you cannot do this, try to separate the person from the power source using a non-conductive item (e.g. a wooden broomstick). Do not use metal items.  Administer first-aid. If the person is not breathing, start CPR.

 

What records do I need to keep?

This is the same as a non-electrical event.  Keep you records for at least 5 years and make sure you keep a copy of everything related to the event (this includes the training etc that the employee received regarding the task they were undertaking at the time of the event).

Don’t forget, both the Safe Work Australia and Queensland Government websites have more comprehensive information on this topic, so check out the link below, you never know when you might need it.

Stay safe.

 

Acknowledgments:  www. safeworkaustralia.gov.au, www.worksafe.qld.gov.au,  www.ergon.com.au

 

https://www.business.qld.gov.au/business/running/workplace-health-safety/incident-reporting/notifying

 

http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/SWA/about/Publications/Documents/690/Incident-Notification-Fact-Sheet-2015.pdf

Safe Work Procedures

Safe Work Procedures are risk management tools used by businesses to guide employees on the best and safest way to undertake a required task.  It’s a written procedure to show an employee how to do something safely  (eg Use of Hazardous Chemicals).

Part of a Safe Work Procedure is to bring the employees attention to the risks associated with undertaking a particular task and guide them on how to avoid injury whilst completing that task.

Safe Work Procedures Using Hazardous Chemicals
Sample Safe Work Procedure

When writing a Safe Work Procedure you need to break down each step in the required task.  Prior to commencing each task the employee should do a risk assessment, identify hazards and work out ways to either eliminate the hazards or successfully reduce the risk so that the task can be completed safely.  This sounds
complicated, but it is something most people do each time they undertake a task.  For instance, getting a heavy load off the back of a ute.  You look at the load, assess whether you will you get it off yourself, what the risks are if you do get it off yourself, and then you work out the safest way to unload the ute, whether that is getting someone else to help you, or better still using mechanical means.  This is something that would only take you a seconds to assess.

Safe Work Procedures should be written in language that is easily understandable by all employees (who may have varying levels of education) and should be accessible by all relevant employees.   We suggest you provide your employees with a copy of all relevant Safe Work Procedures in their employment handbook.  Training on Safe Work Procedures should also be included in an employee’s induction and a record kept of what training was given.

Under Work, Health & Safety legislation you are required to keep copies of all Safe Work Procedures, and if a reportable incident occurs to which a Safe Work Procedure relates, you must keep a copy of this Safe Work Procedure for at least 2 years.

As with your business policies and procedures, Safe Work Procedures should be reviewed every 12 months and modified as required.

So, do you have Safe Work Procedures for the tasks your employees are required to undertake in their day to day duties?   Have you introduced new tasks and haven’t got as far as writing new Safe Work Procedures for them?

AT “CANE TRAIN” WE CAN HELP!

Our Safe Harvesting and Safe Grower systems include Safe Work Procedures.  We will customise your manual to include all the Safe Work Procedures you need for your business.  If we don’t already have a specific Safe Work Procedure you require, we will develop one for you.  It’s that simple!

Call or email us today for more information.

First Aid in Your Business

First Aid in your business - Cane TrainHow well do you deal with first aid in your business?  Did you know that under Work, Health and Safety legislation a business is required to have certain first aid procedures in place?

First Aid Training

Does anyone in your business have a current first aid certificate?  Do you have a nominated First Aid Officer?  Depending on the number of people you employ, there is a minimum number of first aid personnel you are required to have on site.  The minimum qualification required by Work Health & Safety legislation for a workplace First Aid Officer in a small business is “Provide First Aid” (HLTA003).  If you or any of your staff need to renew their first aid certification, check with your local Canegrowers office as they often host these courses (links to Canegrowers offices can be found on our Home page).  Otherwise a Google search will provide you with details of courses in your area.First Aid in your business - Cane Train

As an employer you are obligated to have provision for first aid at your workplace so workers can obtain immediate help if they are injured at work.  This includes first aid equipment and facilities (the specific equipment and facilities you require will depend on the type of work being carried out, the size and location of the workplace and the number and makeup of workers on site.)

First Aid Kits

How are your first aid kits?  How often do you check your first aid stocks and whose responsibility is it to check and restock the kits if and when required (including out of date stock)?  If staff are required to advise you of limited stock, do you have a written procedure in place for this?

Where are your first aid kits located?  Do you have clearly marked signage to show their location?  Are staff advised of first aid kit location in their induction?  Is there easy access to first aid kits should a worker become injured at your workplace?First Aid in your business - Cane Train

How do you work out what to put in your first aid kits, or determine which pre-packed kit to buy?  The contents of your kits will be determined by what tasks your employees carry out, what hazards they may come into contact with and what the potential harm of those hazards are.  For example, if they are going to be working with machinery they might be hit or become caught in moving parts of a machine causing fractures, lacerations, bruises, dislocation, amputation etc.  So you would look at put items in your first aid kit that help deal with these injuries.

Record-keeping

Every business must keep a Register of Injury and/or Illness which occur in the workplace.  This register must be kept and record even minor injuries and illnesses even if claims are not made.First Aid in your business - Cane Train

In the “Safe Harvesting” system we provide you with templates for an Injury Register including investigation forms.

Notification of serious injury and/or illness

The Work Health & Safety Act requires businesses to record and notify the appropriate authorities of any serious injury or illness, death or dangerous incident.  If the injury is regarded as “serious” or the incident is regarded as “dangerous” you are required to report same to Worksafe Queensland.  You can do this online at www.worksafe.qld.gov.au or by telephoning 1300 362128.  Significant penalties apply if injuries and incidents are not reported.  (For definition of “serious injuries” and “dangerous incidents” check out the Worksafe website.

Emergency Plan

Does your business have an Emergency Plan?  Every business is required to have an Emergency Plan and all employees should be provided with a copy of this Plan.   Employees should also be given First Aid in your business - Cane Traintraining in what to do in the event of an emergency and a record of this training should be noted in the businesses Training Register.

 

If your business isn’t up to scratch with it’s first aid requirements, now is a good time to start to get it all in order.  The First Aid in the Workplace Code of Practice 2014 is a great source of information and when read in conjunction with the Work Health & Safety Act 2011 can provide you with everything you need to know, or contact us at Cane Train about our “Safe Harvesting” system and we can set you on the right path.

Mobile Devices and Your Business

Does your business have a Mobile Device Policy?  Do you know what one is?  Are you having trouble with your employees being on the phone or internet during working hours?  Is this putting a risk to safety at your business?

Australia has more than 20 million mobile phones.  With a country of less than 24 million people this is figure is astounding.

Mobile phones are extremely useful in our everyday businesses.  I know I use mine regularly.  Not only are they used for making telephone calls, but for scheduling, email, internet, note taking, voice recording, messaging, using apps and I find I am using the camera function more and more (if I see something I am interested in or want to remember something I take a photo of it for easy reference).

As a cane harvesting contractor we employee seasonal drivers.  Whilst operating the trucks these drivers are required to comply with the road rules, which include not using a mobile phone whilst driving.   This is basic stuff, but it is amazing how many employees don’t follow simple road rules.

Mobile devices
Consider introducing a Mobile Device Policy into your business

What are these employees risking when using their phone whilst driving?  Obviously their lives and the lives of others or damage to your or someone else’s vehicle or property.  This can turn out to be very costly and guess who bears the brunt of that cost?  You, the business owner.

Mobile devices have to potential to cause great harm not only whilst employees are driving, but operating other machinery and undertaking normal day to day duties when their concentration needs to be at its greatest.  It’s not only their safety that has the potential to be at risk but the safety of their work colleagues.

As a business owner you are obligated to provide a safe workplace for your employees and those people you visit your workplace.  I suggest you consider introducing a Mobile Device Policy.  This policy should clearly set reasonable boundaries for the use of mobile devices within your workplace (whether the device is owned personally or work supplied).    Consider under what circumstances (if any) you will allow your employees to access mobile devices during working hours (eg for work related purposes only, during scheduled breaks etc).

This policy should be documented and discussed with new employees as part of your employee induction process.  If you are introducing the policy for existing employees you should meet with them and explain the policy and discuss why you have introduced it.  This could include to increase efficiency and production, workplace safety or in the case of using a mobile device whilst driving – the law.

A Mobile Device Policy is just one of many policies you should have within your business.  If you are unsure where to start please contact us.

Record Keeping

These days record keeping is a very important part of business.   It is one of the least liked parts of small business (mainly because the small business owner is the one tasked with this duty and can’t pass it off to anyone).

Knowing that you have to document just about everything you do can be a very daunting thought, but there is hope, my advice – just start.  Pick one area of your business and set up the required record keeping for that area. Once this has been successfully introduced, move on to the extra area of your business and just keep going.

Realise from the start that you are not going to have all the necessary record keeping introduced in a week (unless of course you purchase our ‘Safe Harvesting’ system).  These things take time and if you are doing it yourself, you will need to do a lot of research and design lots of templates, but it is possible.

As I said before, you will need to keep documented records for all areas of your business.

For example:-

  • do you sign your employees up on an employment agreement?
  • do you document when you give them the required employment documentation and get them to sign for receiving those documents?
  • do you conduct inductions with your employees?
  • do you have a document outlining what you include in those inductions and do you and the employee sign that document?
  • do your employees undertake any training?  Do you document this training and have it signed off by the employee?
  • do you document the chemicals stored and used within your business?

    Example of one record keeping document
  • what about your equipment?  Is it regularly tested and tagged and do you keep documentation of this?

These are just a few of the records you should keep, either under legislation or business best practice.

Once you have all the required record keeping implemented in your business, it really doesn’t take that much time, it is more about getting into the habit of doing it.

I find that having all the check lists and templates actually helps.  Say for instance I am doing an employee induction.  I have my induction booklet, the employee has their induction booklet and I have my employer checklist.  As I work through the booklet I tick each item off as it is discussed.  When the induction is completed both myself and the employee sign the induction check list and it is filed.  Having the checklists means that I don’t forget to discuss anything with the employee and it is all documented.

Should you have a reportable incident occur within your workplace, one of the first things the authorities  are going to ask you is regarding your records.  What do you have and do they comply with the legislation?  If you follow the ‘Safe Harvesting’ system you will be able to provide the authorities with everything they require and be confident that you have complied with current legislation.

Safety within any business should be a priority.  Not just because it is your legal obligation, but more so for the safety of you and your employees.  Everyone who goes to work deserves to go home after their shift.

So, start today.  Contact us about our ‘Safe Harvesting’ system, or start making a list of all areas of your business that you need to keep documentation for and get started.  Good luck and stay safe.

 

 

 

End of Season Safety – How Safe is Your Workshop?

As the 2015 cane season draws to a close, don’t let safety slip from your mind.

After working hard during the crushing you are entitled to relax, but don’t relax on safety.

 

Vehicles, Machines and Children

Depending on where you keep your vehicles and machinery you might be moving them back to your workshop.  Don’t forget the little ones are on school holidays and will probably racing around on bikes and scooters.  Make the kids a “safe play area” where you know they can play safely and not get behind or under any vehicles or machines.  However, even if you have a “safe play area”, make an extra effort to check where they are before you move any vehicles or machinery.  If possible, have someone act as a “look-out” until everything is parked up.

Key safety
Always remove keys from vehicles for added safety

Have you removed all the keys from your vehicles and machines?  I know it’s convenient to have them in vehicles, but it’s amazing what children are able to climb onto (even very small children).  Once they gain access it’s easy for them to turn a key.  This could have tragic consequences.

Look at investing in a lockable key cupboard for your workshop.

Store all your keys safely in a key cupboard and not only will you make your workshop safer, but your insurance company will love you!

 

Tools & Electrical Equipment

Are your tools put away, or at least out of reach of children?  Do you turn off your electrical equipment when not in use?  This is not only important for small children in the area of your workshop, but also your employees.

Test and Tag
Have your electrical equipment regularly tested and tagged for everyone’s safety

When was the last time you had your electrical equipment test and tagged?  Do you know how often they need to be tested?    The frequency of testing depends on the type of use and environment the equipment is kept in.

  • Environment where the equipment or supply flexible cord is subject to flexing in normal use or is open to abuse or is in a hostile environment – every 12 months
  • Environment where the equipment or supply flexible cord is NOT subject to flexing in normal use or is NOT open to abuse or is NOT in a hostile environment – every 5 years

Did you know that only a “competent person” can test and tag your equipment?  A competent person is someone who has the knowledge and skill to inspect and test electrical equipment.

Do you keep a record of these inspections?  You are required to keep a copy of all inspections and details of each piece of equipment for the duration of the life of each piece of equipment (or at least 7 years).

 

Chemical Safety

Are all your chemicals secured?  Now is a great time to check.   It’s easy to leave containers out when you are in a hurry, so have a good look around your workshop and service vehicles to make sure all chemicals are locked away safely.  Is your Chemical Register up to date?  Make sure it is up to date and all required Safety Data Sheets are available.

 

Stay Safe

All of us need to do everything we can to make our homes, properties and workplaces as safe as possible.  We must remain vigilant about injury prevention at all times.  So take a look around and see if there are any improvements you can make – your family and employees (and their families) will thank you for it.

Happy Holidays