General Occupational Health & Safety

FREE Ebook: 10 Tips For HSR’s…HSR’s Guide To Success

– Are you a Health and Safety Representative?
– Do you have Health and Safety Representatives in your workplace?

If you answered yes to either of these questions, you are going to love this FREE EBOOK

I have worked across a range of industries providing safety consultancy and training services to industries such as construction, forestry, manufacturing, retail, banking, food, health, government, electrical, earthmoving, agriculture, and many more.

These 10 tips have been developed with HSR’s for HSR’s in the workplace and have been tried and tested many times and can assist current and potential HSRs in their roles. 

If you are an HSR, thinking of becoming an HSR, or have any interest in safety. These tips are for you!



Why Communication is the Best Tool for Safety


Whoever first said that “silence is golden” was obviously not talking about safety measures. As employers struggle with ways to keep their workplaces as safe as possible, there is one method that has continually been proven to be the best possible tool for keeping employers and employees safe. This method is called communication, and it can save your company time, money, and grief. Yes, it’s true, a little bit of talking can go a very long way when it comes to preventing workplace accidents and injuries.

The key to making sure that your employees know what to expect in terms of safety standards, and what they should expect if your company’s standards are not being met is to educate them. Hold a staff meeting and explain to them a little bit about the safety standards that are being put into place. Teaching your staff about workplace safety, important safety procedures, and the legal codes and standards that they are being held to will ensure that they do not have an excuse for being sloppy. It also helps create a workplace environment that is more focused on safety, and more focused on being educated about what they do.

It’s also important to cultivate an environment where staff members feel safe (or even obligated) to report health and safety hazards that they see. As an employer, you cannot be everywhere that your employees are. You cannot be there to witness all the things that your employees do, no matter how hard you try. This means that you have to rely on your employees to tell you about the important things that you cannot be present to witness. Many, many workplace hazards that have caused accidents and even deaths could have been avoided if employees felt like they could openly discuss their concerns. If you have been having a hard time encouraging your staff to talk about the hazards that they’ve noticed, offer a reward program for those who keep a vigilant eye.

That being said, it’s important that your employees also get educated on their rights as your staff. You need to make it very clear that they have a right to a safe workplace, and that they have a right to feel safe while they are doing their job. This is especially true for companies that focus on industries that have been known to have high accident rates, such as coal mining, manufacturing, and construction. Many business owners who have been successful in reducing the number of accidents in their companies have made an effort to communicate with their staff about their rights to a safe, clean work environment.

It is also important to teach your staff about the hazards of workers compensation fraud. Your staff need to know that committing fraud is a crime, and a traceable one at that. Much like with the issue of workplace hazards that your staff may have seen, it’s important to make sure that your staff feel comfortable with the idea of reporting workers compensation fraud to you or your insurance company. It’s important that they realise that they will be rewarded for their honesty and that it may help save their jobs as well as the jobs of others.

No matter what front you are fighting in the war against unsafe work environments, it’s important to maintain an open line of communication with your staff. Effectively communicating with your employees may save you a lot of hardship when it comes to the problem of workplace accidents, and it will also make them view you as a better boss.


    Why Monetary Rewards for Safety Performance Won’t Work

    There are very few things that are more worrisome than workplace safety, especially if you are one of the many business owners in the field of construction or manufacturing. Laws are in place that penalises business owners who have employees that do not adhere to work safety standards that are put into place. As a result, it’s important (and also quite mandatory) to teach your employees about workplace safety and to enforce the rules. Keeping your safety risk low also helps keep your worker’s compensation costs low. Trying to drive home the importance of workplace safety can be a taxing chore, and it often can be one that employers struggle with.

    Of course, many employers have tried to find new ways to create a safer, more organised workplace. Some choose to have special workplace safety seminars that educate employees on how to maintain a certain level of safety. Others opt to have a special consultant develop new ways to keep employees on the ball. Still, others choose to have extremely harsh penalties for those who make a mistake that deals with workplace safety.

    Others still choose to have monetary incentives to try to keep their employees from making the same safety mistakes over and over again. Out of all of the different ways to handle safety performance issues, the monetary incentive route is quite possibly the worst option for employers to choose.

    Using money to provide an incentive for people to do something has been a method that has been used for centuries to get things done. Though monetary incentives have been used for decades to motivate people to do the right thing, there have been many studies that have shown that money is not a good motivator in the long run. Some cases have shown that people are more likely to “cheat” in one way or another to try to get the incentive money. Other cases have shown that people begin to expect the incentive without actually doing the work that is needed in order to earn the incentive. In some cases, it will not make a difference in people’s actions at all, since they may not be fully aware of why they are even getting the incentive at all.

    As a general rule, most people do not get motivated by money, even though it is one of the most important tools in a person’s life. According to most psychologists, people are more likely to be motivated by positive social pressure, by purpose, or by fear. Money, on the other hand, will not motivate a person enough to make them change their habits. So business owners would be wise to work on cultivating a culture that encourages looking out for one another or to develop a stricter set of penalties for those who do not obey local safety laws than it would be to spend money trying to get people to look out for workplace safety issues.

    So how do you make a better, safer and smarter workplace?

    • The best way to start is to lead by example and to talk with your employees about the new safety-conscious efforts that will be taking place at work.
    • Hold a couple of quick meetings that teach your employees about proper workplace safety methods, as well as educate your employees on workplace safety laws.
    • If you do a good job of motivating people to be a little bit more conscientious when it comes to their safety practices, you won’t need to spend any money in order to make a major change in the way your company operates.

    The Topic of Tagging and Testing

    Recently, we had a client ask about the tagging and testing requirements under the new NSW WHS Legislation as it has confused them as to what is now required to ensure they are in compliance.

    In summary, the WHS Regulations 2011 Clause 150 (1) states that a PCBU at a workplace must ensure that electrical equipment is regularly inspected and tested by a competent person if the electrical equipment is:

    • Supplied with electrical through an electrical socket outlet; and
    • Used in an environment which the normal use of the electrical equipment exposes the equipment to conditions that are likely to result in damage to it or reduce its expected life span. This includes conditions that involve exposure to moisture, heat, vibration, mechanical damage, corrosive chemicals, or dust.

    It then goes onto to say, that any electrical equipment that is new and unused and that are not in exposed to conditions that are likely to cause it damage or reduce its life span, such as moisture, heat, vibration, mechanical danger corrosive chemicals or dust, are not required to comply to the above clause 150 (1) must be inspected for obvious damage before used.

    This means that items that if they are in an office environment and not in an environment as described above in the first paragraph, they wouldn’t require regular inspection and testing. However, areas such as workshops, factories, maintenance, or manufacturing areas would be considered to have exposed conditions to dust, heat vibrations, etc., and would be required to be part of a tagging and testing program.

    However, the legislation doesn’t discuss or direct us in the frequency of testing that is required. The Australian Standard for Tagging and Testing (AS/NZS 3760:2003 In-service safety inspection and testing of electrical equipment) is the document that advises of the frequency of testing required, depending on what type i.e. fully insulated, etc.


    Safety Leadership

    Creating a total safety culture requires a common vision and effort from everyone in an organisation. There is compelling scientific research demonstrating that the management philosophy of an organisation is the most important factor determining its safety performance. For example, research demonstrates that companies with the lowest lost-time injury rates have the highest level of management commitment and employee involvement. The manager and/or the team leader are vital in inspiring employees to a higher level of safety and productivity, which means that they must apply good leadership attributes on a daily basis. Safety leadership is a vital component of any safety, health and environment process.

    Safety leadership is defined as, “The process of defining the desired state, setting up the team to succeed, and engaging in the discretionary efforts that drive the safety value,” which broadly boils down to “engaging in and maintaining behaviours that help others achieve our safety goals.” Common safety leadership strategies appear to be:

    Importance of Safety Leadership

    The way you lead your team on health and safety can determine how safe your site is to work on (and the number of accidents, incidents and ill-health cases that happen) because it is a key ingredient in an organisation’s safety success. Without safety leadership, your company’s safety is questionable. Safety leadership determines the extent to which safety rules and procedures are followed which completely depends on the decision of your safety leader. Safety leadership helps to create and maintain the safety culture in an organisation.

    Benefits of Safety Leadership

    Addressing health and safety should not be seen as a regulatory burden: it offers significant opportunities. One of the benefits of safety leadership is to reduce costs. Safety in the workplace is one of the needs of employees, and safety leadership ensures it and reduces risks. Other benefits include lower employee absence and turnover rates; fewer accidents; the lessened threat of legal action; improved standing among suppliers and partners; a better reputation for corporate responsibility among investors, customers and communities; and increased productivity because employees are healthier, happier and better motivated.

    Safety Culture

    Achieving a total safety culture requires the organisation identifying the barriers preventing employees and leaders from performing their best. Otherwise, a tremendous effort may be lost pursuing initiatives that miss the mark.

    There are many tools and resources available that can help an organisation measure their safety culture, identify the gaps and then assist in implementing a plan and processes for improvement.

    Improving the safety culture will take time and resources. Commitments from top management, communication, assessing and improving the existing culture are essential in this process.

    If you are interested in improving your safety culture, give us a call here at Dowell Solutions to see how we can tailor a package to suit your organisation’s needs.