Close-up of a worker in hi-vis holding a hard hat

Safety at Work

Safety at Work – Attitudes and Approaches in Australia

Safety in the workplace is about more than following rules and ticking a set of boxes. It’s about the responsibility of individuals and organisations to create a healthy, safe and happy workplace. This involves everything from regular training and proper licensing to ensuring everyone understands the procedures behind their job.

At On the Job Training, we’re proud to do our part in getting Australians job ready. From technical competence to safety awareness, we take you through the training and assessments needed to safely do your job. Read on for our take on work safety culture in Australia and what we can all do to make our job sites safer places to work.

What Is Workplace Safety Culture and Why Does It Matter?

Safe Work Australia defines a positive safety culture as one where “everyone accepts personal responsibility” for the safety of others. As well as this, supervisors and managers are responsible for promoting and demonstrating “their commitment to health and safety”.

While this seems fairly straightforward, workplace safety is never as easy in practice. Forklift operators alone face significant challenges to their health and safety. A total of 61 workers have been killed on the job since 2003 while more than 1000 serious injury claims were accepted during 2008-09. You get a similar story when you look at workers on power hoists, with 48 deaths between 2003 and 2013.

While high-risk industries are naturally more prone to injury and fatalities, a positive workplace safety culture can go a long way in avoiding unnecessary accidents.

How Does Australia’s Safety Culture Stack Up?

In general, Australian workplaces have been getting progressively safer over the past 10-15 years. In fact, according to Safety Culture Australia:

  • Serious incidence claims have reduced since 2002 and are projected to keep dropping
  • Standard insurance premiums have dropped, representing safer workplaces
  • Australia is in the top 10 countries for work safety and low injury/fatality rates

Despite these positive trends, there is still a long way to go for workplace safety:

  • Approximately 600 people a year are diagnosed with asbestos-related mesothelioma
  • Men are twice as likely to experience serious injury or disease in the workplace
  • Labourers are involved in more than double the amount of workplace incidences compared to other occupations

What Can We Do to Create Safer Workplaces

Individuals can:

  • identify and report hazards
  • offer leadership on safety issues
  • perform regular pre-operation and maintenance checks on equipment
  • take refresher courses to reinforce their skills
  • actively take part in health and safety committees
  • consult manuals and documentation when unsure about equipment 

Organisations can:

  • properly understand industry hazards and their risks
  • take steps to control risks that can’t be eliminated
  • regularly review plans
  • actively encourage workplace safety and consult with employees
  • ensure proper safety documentation and signage is readily accessible and visible
  • consult with other industry professionals when necessary
  • ensure all employees are properly qualified and licenced

Talk to On the Job Training

If you’re an employer or worker looking to update your skills and safety knowledge, talk to On the Job Training. We work with Registered Training Organisations to ensure you are properly licenced and qualified in high-risk industries.

With a focus on safety training and safe work cultures, we promote the highest OH&S standards and outcomes for individuals and organisations alike. For practical courses, assessments and licensing, contact us today.

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