2 min read

Off-the-pitch lessons from the World Cup

There is no doubt that the FIFA Women’s World Cup caught the nation’s attention. The skill and teamwork of the players provided gripping drama for viewers around the world. The World Cup may be over, but there are many lessons for us that remain.

Calling out unsafe play

Every now and then a player would cross the line – whether intentional or not – and cause a foul, in many cases because of unsafe play.

Can you imagine if you could issue yellow or red cards in your workplace for safety infractions – what would be the response?

Unlike in the workplace, every game in the World Cup had a referee and a number of other line officials who would follow the action and spot any infraction. Further, there was a video review system watching all the time, which could examine any suspected breach even more closely.

So, what happens in your workplace? Do you have clear rules for your workers to follow? Are they being enforced by supervisors and team leaders? What action do you take if there is a safety breach or a dangerous occurrence?

Exceptional training

One thing that was very clear from watching any of the matches in the World Cup was the quality and quantity of training that each player, and each team together, must have undergone to perform at such a high level. All players understood their role, what they were required to do, and how to respond to changed conditions.

Training cannot be underestimated when it comes to safety performance as well. Consider this statement from the former Full Bench of the Industrial Relations Commission of NSW, when explaining the level of training required to be given to workers for compliance with the safety laws: “…in all cases, adequate training will necessarily involve the provision of such information and instruction as will fully equip employees to safely perform work which they are expected to undertake, including the provision of training as to all contingencies arising out of, or relating to, the performance of such work.

“In short, the employer must educate the employee to deal with the full range of circumstances which may arise in the performance of work, including eventualities which are more unusual in character. Such education should involve processes designed to ensure that employees have fully understood the training afforded them (and re-training of employees, where necessary, to ensure the continued sufficiency of such education).”

Take the lessons where you find them

A soccer pitch may look very different from your workplace, but as we can see, there are still many lessons to be learned from it. Top performance requires top training, and consequences for breaches. This applies for all workplaces, and especially for work health and safety.

Find out more about taking disciplinary action against workers for safety breaches in the Health & Safety Handbook chapter, Disciplining workers, and training in safety in the chapter, Training and induction.

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