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Leading and managing for health and safety

Submitted on Tuesday, 3rd July 2018

Last week, another two people died at work in Victoria; one whilst working on the Westgate tunnel project and the other following a fall from a height. These fatalities take the total to 13 for 2018. 13 too many.

Leaders at all levels of a business need to understand the risks to health and safety in their part of the organisation and the need to give proportionate attention to each of them. This applies to the level of detail and effort put into assessing the risks, implementing appropriate controls, supervising and monitoring the controls to ensure they are working as planned.

Ask yourself the following questions to start thinking about what you are doing to lead health and safety in the workplace:

  • Is there leadership from the top of the organisation? Is it visible?
  • What example do you set? Do you talk about health and safety? When did you last do this?
  • What are your significant risks and how do you know they are being controlled?
  • Are the health and safety implications of your business decisions recognised and addressed?
  • Is there evidence that the organisation’s leadership is responsive to the health and safety information that is reported?

Also think about management tasks within the organisation and ask yourself:

  • How is health and safety included in the processes or management arrangements you have for running the business?
  • Are the health and safety responsibilities of key people set out, for example:
    • Who, amongst the leaders, has a focus on occupational health and safety (OHS)?
    • Who sets policy and standards? And does full consultation with employees occur?
    • Who monitors performance?
    • Are these responsibilities reflected in their job descriptions?
  • How do you ensure access to competent advice?
  • How do you ensure health and safety information is communicated effectively within and beyond your organisation?
  • How do you manage your contractors?
  • How do you review health and safety performance?

If you are a business of up to 200 employees, why not take advantage of WorkSafe’s free OHS Essentials program which entitles eligible businesses to up to 10 hours worth of free OHS consulting from a Victorian Chamber expert?

Or, if you would like help to boost your leadership performance, set up your health and safety management program or simply ask our advice, email our Health, Safety and Wellbeing team for advice or call us on 03 8662 5333.

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