5 things employers must prioritise in new WHS strategy— IEC Group CEO

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Image credit: Workplace Health and Safety Show

Marie Kinsella, CEO of the IEC Group – the organisers of the upcoming Workplace Health and Safety Show – said that with the recently released 10-year Australian Work Health and Safety (WHS) Strategy, employers should prioritise the prevention of fatalities, injuries, and illness as well as the promotion of improved mental health for workers, among other things.

Kinsella emphasised in an article that the policy puts more responsibility on Australian companies to increase their understanding of workplace health and safety, so they can be proactive in handling problems and implementing best practices in their workplaces.

“This strategy also prompts us to dispel the misconception that workplace health and safety protocols slow productivity. In fact, there’s growing evidence that workplaces which prioritise health, safety and wellbeing achieve greater productivity and have happier staff,” Kinsella remarked.

The IEC Group official said that prevention of fatalities and injuries must be done especially in the agriculture, construction, transport, manufacturing, healthcare, social assistance and public administration and safety sectors.

According to Safe Work Australia, the majority of fatalities are a result of car accidents, being struck by moving items, and height falls. 

Meanwhile, being hit by moving items, falling, slipping, and tripping, as well as physical stress, are the most frequent causes of job injuries.

Kinsella pointed out that a growing number of significant cases now involve mental health issues, which are typically brought on by stress at work, workplace violence, or harassment and bullying.

She revealed that on 1 April, the Code of Practice for the management of psychosocial risks came into effect to provide employers with a practical guide to the identification, management and prevention of these risks. 

“The general lack of awareness around psychosocial hazards has been identified as a barrier. This Code presents us with a remedy as it explains the reasonable measures that employers should take to mitigate these risks,” Kinsella stated.

The IEC Group official said the new strategy demands that when creating safe work environments, firms take into account the needs of all employees, especially the vulnerable ones.

In harnessing data to improve health and safety outcomes, the new strategy encourages employers and employees to collect reliable and timely data, which will become a useful tool for the identification of trends or patterns.

“Digital solutions such as safety software reduce the administrative burdens associated with WHS data collection and management, while also streamlining WHS processes,” Kinsella added. 

She further pointed out that workplace culture and leadership are essential elements in the promotion of safe and healthy workspaces.

“This is the time to invest in the skills development and training of workplace leaders, with a view to making safety and wellbeing a core value of company culture,” Kinsella said. 

The two-day in-person events will take place from 31 May to 1 June in Brisbane and September 20 to 21 in Sydney.

The event aims to offer a live, interactive two-way learning experience with a trade show featuring over 100 brands, talks and interactive forums.

“The Show’s expert presenters will provide attendees with practical strategies and advice for the management of health and safety compliance in any environment. Registration is free, making it a no-brainer for any professional seeking to achieve best practice,” Kinsella concluded. 

Attendees will also have the opportunity to interact with cutting-edge and targeted work and safety solutions, as well as stay up to date on the latest products, resources, and policies.