Benefits of Safety Management

There are four key reasons why proactively managing safety, and undertaking plant risk assessments is crucial for anyone supplying or using plant & equipment:

Periodically conducting a plant hazard assessment delivers the following:

  • Ensures machines are up to date with latest legislative requirements and best practice risk treatments
  • Ensures risk treatments are maintained by periodically checking they are all in place
  • Gets key employees involved in the process. Plant Assessor is a non threatening way of engaging employees in the process of reviewing and enhancing safety
  • Provides information for use in training and assessing
    competency of employees in safe operation of a machine

 

These are all critical elements of a SAFE SYSTEM OF WORK for each machine. A robust safe system of work will deliver reduced incidents and injuries, and contribute to a broader business culture focused on well planned, efficient and high quality work.

 

In the same fashion that an obvious safe system of work contributes to the feeling and appearance of professionalism, the procedural aspects of a safe system of work are highly likely to result in better business processes.

 

Many corporations in Australia and indeed across the globe have successfully used safety as a driver of business performance. Most organisations would love a magic wand to be able to adapt behaviours from “what we have always done” to “what we want to be known for”. The process of executing this style of change has become known as change management.

 

The challenge of changing behaviours in a workplace is often a very substantial one. The most critical aspect of any change program is engaging those who you wish to change by clarifying “What’s In It For Me?”. Without people seeing the benefit of a change, the chance of a lasting change is very slim.

 

Safety is something that arguably (at its most base level) employees are more interested in than employers. No one wants or expects to go home from work in a fundamentally worse state than they arrived.

 

Safety therefore is an excellent “common goal” between employers and employees. In addition to this, safe outcomes are delivered by investigating and streamlining business processes to identify and treat risks.

 

This style of investigation is exactly what is requires to improve the efficiency of processes, and deliver better customer service and financial outcomes as well.

 

A substantial component of safety system implementation involves the development and implementation of work procedures, combined with training and competency assessment.

 

This again is exactly what a business will do in order to ensure it achieves targeted efficiency, service and profit outcomes. The saying “good safety is good business” has evolved – and is both logically and historically justifiable.

 

At Plant Assessor, we subscribe to this way of thinking, and welcome any opportunity to share thoughts with our clients and other industry participants with a view to enhancing both their safety and broader business outcomes.

Reduced likelihood of prosecution under WHS legislation

Risk assessment and control are the fundamental building blocks of all modern safety systems. Workplace Health and Safety legislation in every State and Territory of Australia, along with Commonwealth safety legislation requires employers to follow the process of:

  • Hazard Identification
  • Risk Assessment and;
  • Risk Control

 

Detailed State & Territory Legislative Plant Safety Requirements
For details of State & Territory Legislation & Guidance information, please follow this link Workplace Health and Safety Legislation. This detailed information shows that there are specific plant safety requirements for each Australian jurisdiction. These specific requirements are automatically built into your Plant Assessor hazard assessment.

 

Major Incidents – Consequences
Amongst an employer’s worst nightmares is the idea of a fatality or significant catastrophic injury in their workplace. The personal grief suffered by workmates, friends and the family of an injured or deceased staff member is the most difficult aspect of any fatality or major injury. In addition to this grief, there is the possibility of an extended regulator investigation and prosecution. These lengthy and expensive proceedings are both gruelling and highly demanding on directors, management and staff.

 

Prosecutor Approaches
Each of the Australian regulators, takes a different approach to a major incident investigation and prosecution. The aim of the incident investigation is to scientifically review the factors and circumstances that may have contributed to an incident and subsequent injury.

Generally speaking, an inspector will seek to identify the causes of an incident and identify whether these causes in some way represented a significant breach of an employer’s duties under the legislation. The details of specific legislative obligations are covered in the Plant Safety Obligations section of our website, however a number of themes run across the WH&S legislative structure in all Australian jurisdictions, these being:

  • Employers (and others) have a Duty of Care to ensure the safety of employees and others
  • Duty holders need to illustrate due diligence in exercising this duty of care
  • Central to the exercise of this duty of care is the expectation to follow the process of hazard identification, risk assessment and control
  • In most jurisdictions there are specific expectations that duty holders will identify, assess and control Plant & Equipment risks in accordance with the above process

All incidents, prosecutions, and most prosecutors are different, so it is difficult to predict a standard line of enquiry when it comes to determining whether a duty holder has been diligent.

Legislation and prosecution history in every jurisdiction in Australia clearly shows it is common for prosecutors to focus heavily upon the diligence or otherwise shown by a defendant, and this diligence is often best illustrated by evidence of proactive risk assessment and control.

 

OK, so it is diligent to have a regime of risk assessment and control, why should I start with plant & equipment?

Because Plant & Machinery is:

  • Involved in a statistically high proportion of catastrophic incidents,
  • Consequently subject to a high relative percentage of prosecutions
  • Subject to specific obligations in relation to risk assessment and application of specific controls in all jurisdictions
  • Relative to other hazard areas, more finite, structured and simple to manage.

Therefore, having a thorough and well documented system of plant & machinery risk assessment is a foundation stone in any proactive safety system, and hence an excellent way of not only ensuring safe machinery, but also illustrating diligence in exercising the duty of care.

More robust and efficient business processes

In the same fashion that an obvious safe system of work contributes to the feeling and appearance of professionalism, the procedural aspects of a safe system of work are highly likely to result in better business processes.

 

Many corporations in Australia and indeed across the globe have successfully used safety as a driver of business performance. Most organisations would love a magic wand to be able to adapt behaviours from “what we have always done” to “what we want to be known for”. The process of executing this style of change has become known as change management.

 

The challenge of changing behaviours in a workplace is often a very substantial one. The most critical aspect of any change program is engaging those who you wish to change by clarifying “What’s In It For Me?”. Without people seeing the benefit of a change, the chance of a lasting change is very slim.

 

Safety is something that arguably (at its most base level) employees are more interested in than employers. No one wants or expects to go home from work in a fundamentally worse state than they arrived.

 

Safety therefore is an excellent “common goal” between employers and employees. In addition to this, safe outcomes are delivered by investigating and streamlining business processes to identify and treat risks.

 

This style of investigation is exactly what is requires to improve the efficiency of processes, and deliver better customer service and financial outcomes as well.

 

A substantial component of safety system implementation involves the development and implementation of work procedures, combined with training and competency assessment.

 

This again is exactly what a business will do in order to ensure it achieves targeted efficiency, service and profit outcomes. The saying “good safety is good business” has evolved – and is both logically and historically justifiable.

 

At Plant Assessor, we subscribe to this way of thinking, and welcome any opportunity to share thoughts with our clients and other industry participants with a view to enhancing both their safety and broader business outcomes.

Improved customer service and professionalism

It is increasingly common for customers to include safety as a key criterion when deciding between suppliers. Implementation of safe systems of work around plant & equipment is obvious for both employees and customers.

 

Many customers attend suppliers’ premises to pick up goods or attend meetings, and are hence subject to on site risks similar to employees.

It is quite clear that suppliers who have good safety systems in place appear (and generally are) more professional.

 

These are the businesses that have such attributes as clearly delineated walkways and exclusion/danger zones and traffic management, clear instructions to visitors, well maintained and presented plant featuring appropriate safety features such as reverse beepers, safety decals and safety beacons, and clear and consistent operating procedures.

 

All of these things add to both the consistency and reliability of the service received, as well as giving a client a feeling of professionalism and care for employees, contractors and visitors.

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