When conducting day-to-day operations in the workplace, everything doesn’t always go to plan. While companies can introduce extensive measures for managing risks, this doesn’t guarantee exemption from accidents, which can still happen along the line.
While it can be good to recognise that ‘accidents happen’, this doesn’t grant you a free pass to be laid back when it comes to workplace safety. Minimising the likelihood of your employees experiencing work-related injury or illness still ought to be of the utmost importance, with accidents of this nature costing the Australian economy some $61.8 billion.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, risks threatening the wellbeing of employees in the workplace have only been amplified. While it’s still imperative that organisations continue to satisfy their usual safety rules and obligations; as per government legislation, they’re now in the position where more thorough measures likely need to be introduced as well. Thus, seeking out reputable pandemic-specific resources is vital in remaining informed on and in compliance with guidelines.
Many organisations are supporting their staff members in working remotely, as to reduce and, ultimately, contain, community transmission. As an employer, you’re expected to:
- Maintain daily communication with workers;
- Provide employees with reasonable assistance in alleviating risks and setting up their home workplace;
- Ensure employees have a reliable point of contact for discussing any concerns that arise;
- Put together a comprehensive plan for managing the current climate, which takes into account:
- Physical activities
- Work environment
- Work practices
- Mental health
Managing Risks and Making Workplace Safety a Priority
As detailed in government legislation, Australian businesses are not only responsible for preserving the safety of their staff members, but also anyone who visits their workplace. This means that, when minimising hazards, you need to keep the wellbeing of your customers, contractors and the like in mind as well.
In doing this, to get your business on track, there are four key steps you can take:
- Identify Hazards: consider which specific aspects of your workplace have the potential to cause harm.
- Assess Risks: understand what types of harm your identified risks pose, the seriousness of this harm, how to eliminate these risks and the level of urgency in doing so.
- Control Risks: determine processes for minimising or mitigating risks.
- Review Control Measures: monitor the effectiveness of your strategies for managing risks and continue to make improvements as required.
In addition to this, by introducing well-developed crisis management and business continuity plans, when unprecedented events do occur, you’ll be better equipped to manage their repercussions.
Reporting an Incident
If an event occurs at your workplace that results in serious injury or illness, this must be immediately reported to your state’s relevant regulator.
In cases where it’s a close call but, at the end of the day, no one was seriously harmed, it’s imperative that the incident is still reported appropriately. While it may be tempting to stay quiet about near misses, this can expose your business to hefty fines and, more importantly, can be detrimental to the safety of your staff members.
By reporting issues as they arise, your organisation can recognise risks that aren’t being addressed sufficiently. Through doing this, you have the opportunity to introduce new, more effective measures for minimising or alleviating risks of this nature in future.
Making a Claim
Once you’ve reported an issue, depending on your circumstances, you may be in the position to make an insurance claim, such as to assist you in making a compensation payment.
The vast majority of Australian employers are legally obligated to take out workers’ compensation insurance; thus, this is a proactive measure you will need to make a priority. If an incident does occur, worker’s compensation insurance can help your business remain financially viable while you pay the wages or medical bills of an injured or unwell employee.
For more information, or if this article has brought up any queries, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with your insurance advisor.
Conditions apply for each policy and the information expected from you for a policy to trigger. Coverage may differ based on specific clauses in individual policies. Please ask your broker to explain the additional benefits and exclusions pertaining to your policy.
The information provided is general advice only and does not take account of your personal circumstances or needs. Please refer to our financial services guide which contains details of our services and how we are remunerated.