Join in a world-wide safety effort tomorrow

By Michael Selinger on April 27th, 2017

Day for Safety and Health at Work, April 28. Vector illustration for you design, card, banner, poster and calendar

Tomorrow, 28 April, is an important day for your organisation to mark World Day on Safety and Health at Work – do you have anything planned?

The day has been observed for 14 years to promote the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases globally. The day forms part of a campaign to raise awareness on the impact and significance of work-related injuries and diseases.

In Australia, the trade union movement has also marked this day for more than 20 years as Workers Memorial Day.

Why you should do something to mark this day

As with Anzac Day and other important days of commemoration, the World Day on Safety and Health at Work gives us an opportunity to stop and reflect on the steps we are taking to improve safety and wellbeing for our workforce.

Importantly, because serious workplace injuries and illnesses continue to occur, a day to remind us to focus on what further action we can take to improve our safety culture is invaluable.

As Safe Work Australia has said, Australia’s work-related fatality rates have been steadily trending downwards, but 178 workers still lost their lives in 2016. By raising awareness and taking the lead in work health and safety, we can help prevent further injuries and death.

Theme – workplace health & safety data

Last year’s theme for World Day on Safety and Health at Work was workplace stress. This year, the focus is on the importance of collecting and utilising reliable occupational health and safety data.

The importance of collecting accurate and fulsome safety data is to assist in the detection of new and emerging hazards and risks, as well as improving business practices and systems in relation to controlling known risks. It also assists you and your business to measure safety progress and effectiveness of your current practices. This applies both at the organisational level as well as more broadly for the community.

What you can do

There are many barriers to the collection of accurate data and you can aim to address these. They include:

  • lack of knowledge and understanding of the obligation and importance to notify and record occupational accidents, disease and dangerous occurrences;
  • time and effort required by the notification and recording process;
  • adverse effect on the reputation of the employer;
  • adverse financial or other legal consequences for the employer;
  • cultural differences in response to minor accidents and dangerous occurrences; and
  • latency of onset of occupational diseases.

In keeping with the theme of the day, your organisation could look to have an activity designed to raise awareness of the importance of reporting safety incidents. Think about how you can demonstrate to your workforce the direct link between the reporting of incidents/near misses to improving the safety for everyone.

From an organisational viewpoint, the day represents a good opportunity, at all levels, to take time to assess the effectiveness of the current reporting strategies you have in place. In particular, are you effectively reporting all incidents, including near misses? Where is the data being collected and how is it being used?

Take the lead

To mark the day, consider some suggestions from Safe Work Australia:

  • organise an afternoon tea or toolbox talk to discuss work health and safety;
  • stop for a minute of silence to remember those who have lost their lives at work;
  • arrange for a senior manager to speak at your workplace.

The Portner Press Health & Safety Handbook has more than 70 chapters covering all aspects of workplace health and safety. The handbook is a vital tool used to keep your workers safe.

Written in plain English, the Handbook is designed to keep you fully up to date on all your legal requirements to provide a safe and healthy work environment for your workers and visitors.

Order your copy of the Health & Safety Handbook today and prove to your workers that you take their safety seriously.

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