Occupational health and safety (OHS) stands as a backbone of the working environment and safety documentation. Employee safety is after all the most important aspect of any workplace and fundamental to company success. According to Safe Work Australia somebody is injured roughly every 5 minutes at work in Australia. The same source cites that 190 people were killed at work in 2017, that’s roughly one every 2 days. The majority of these fatalities occur in construction, agriculture and transport & logistics, with 15% from falling, 18% from being hit by moving objects and 63% related to a vehicle. Considering your organisation’s activities, does it not seem imperative to master your safety inspection?
Safety inspection can of course mean different things to different organisations. Whilst it’s always a good idea to use common sense in operating equipment or machinery, there are industries that by law require regulatory checks of asset condition before operation, or routine checks. This highlights the clear need to have top level management and oversight over inspection systems. Whatever the asset or machinery piece, it’s important that the exact operative methods are followed to avoid injury, future damage or failure.
Naomi Kemp, the Safety Institute of Australia Deputy Chair says workers need to take their safety into their own supervision and remain vigilant in constantly changing workplaces. “It’s a mindset. We really need to be considering the risks we’re about to face when we go to work”. Kemp also outlined some key tips for workers and organisations to consider in the interest of their OHS:
- Take care of your health and wellbeing,
- Be part of the solution,
- Watch out for your colleagues and others,
- Have the courage to stop if you feel unsafe,
- And be prepared for risks you may face.
ISO 45001 is one example of many organisational standards that helps to contribute to better OHS. Other standards like ISO 14001 and ISO 9001 that tackle management system approaches work well with ISO 45001 in integrating with how OHS is managed. Today it is possible to implement technology in the hands of the employees themselves, allowing them to clearly follow, abide by and inspect according to ISO and other industry standards.
As well as abiding by industrial safety operation standards, it’s important to make sure that safety signage is also working within your organisation. For this to be the case, clear and effective signage can follow rules and regulations set out by ISO in the standard ISO 7010. These signs are designed to minimise the need to use text for comprehension, bypassing the need to read as much as possible. This often makes it both easier and faster for employees and customers to understand what safety message is trying to be transferred. Confusion or a lack of comprehension leads to enhanced danger and risk for all those in the area, highlighting the stark importance of effective safety signage. IOS 7010 outlines how graphical symbols, safety colours and safety signs can be designed and prescribes how safety signage can be used to prevent accidents, health hazards or evacuation plans. By using standards such as IOS 7010, it is possible to reduce the confusion of employees/customers whilst increase the effectiveness of safety operations.