Workplace Safety Issues

Workplace Safety Issues

Workplace Safety Issues

The common types of safety hazards in the workplace are:

  • Slips, trips and falls
  • Being caught in or struck by moving machinery or other objects
  • Fire and explosions
  • Transportation and vehicle‐related accidents
  • Confined spaces
  • Violence

Slips, Trips and Falls

· Bad housekeeping and poor drainage can make floors and other walking surfaces wet and slippery.

· Electrical wires along the floor pose a tripping hazard.

· You can fall if you are not provided with fall protection equipment, guardrails, and safe ladders.

Caught In or Struck By Moving Machinery/Objects

· Machinery can cause injuries in different ways:

· You can get parts of your body caught in or struck by exposed moving parts if machines are not properly guarded, or not locked out when being repaired.

· You can be struck by flying objects from machines without protective guards.

Fire and Explosions

· Improper labelling, handling or storage of certain materials can pose a risk of fire or explosion.

· Every workplace should have an evacuation plan for getting people out of a building in case of fire and an alarm or alert system to quickly inform employees of an emergency.

· Every worker should be trained on what to do in case of an emergency.

Transportation and Vehicle‐Related Accidents

· Operators of vehicles and equipment can be injured or cause injury to pedestrians if equipment is unsafe or if adequate training has not been provided.

· You can be seriously injured or killed after being hit by a vehicle while repairing roads or doing other work in traffic zones. This danger exists when traffic is not properly routed and/or adequate barriers are not placed between the workers and the traffic.

Confined Spaces

· A confined space is an area with small openings for a worker to enter and exit and is not designed for regular work. Examples of confined spaces include manholes, sewer digestors and silos. There are many hazards in confined spaces.

· Workers can become unconscious and die from a lack of oxygen.

· There may be too much oxygen, or other chemicals that can catch fire or explode.

· Poisonous gases and vapors, such as hydrogen sulfide or carbon monoxide, may also build up in a confined space.

· Confined spaces can also pose physical hazards. They can be very hot or cold, very loud, or slippery and wet.

· Grain, sand or gravel can bury a worker.


· Violence on the job is a growing problem.

· Homicides are the second leading cause of workplace fatalities. Workplace violence includes physical assault as well as near misses, verbal abuse and sexual harassment.

Suggested Questions for a Safety Audit Preparation

Safety Audit Preparation

Safety Audit Preparation

  1. Do we have a current occupational health and safety policy? When was it last reviewed? Do we have in place a schedule to conduct an annual review?
  2. Do we have an up-to-date incident register? Are our employees regularly and effectively using the incident register?
  3. Do we have a process in place for communicating OHS issues to our employees?
  4. Do we have an appointed Health and Safety Representative in each location?
  5. Is our training up to date for all employees and Health and Safety Representatives?
  6. Are we effectively recording in the meeting minutes all OHS issues and are they stored in an easy to find and manageable location?
  7. Is our First Aid kit fully stocked and everyone is aware of how to access it and what to do if they use some of the materials?
  8. Is all of our signage up to date and appropriately displayed for any hazards?
  9. Do we have all of the required PPE, is it in good repair and within the use-by date and is it easily accessible by employees?
  10. If previous incidents have occurred, have we investigated and documented the solutions to ensure we don’t have a repeat?
  11. Do we regularly review the OHS conduct of our staff in performance reviews?
  12. Do we regularly consult with industry regarding the OHS requirements of our business?
  13. Do our inductions of new employees, including occupational health and safety procedures, include guidance on mental health?

How Much Safety Is Too Much?


How Much Safety Is Too Much?

A common phrase you hear across many industry work fronts is, “safety is out of control”. That there was more room in the safety industry for addressing individual and collective attitude to doing things safer and getting some buy-in from workers rather than dazzling them with complex legislation. There is definitely a need for robust risk management processes to build an organisation’s safety foundation, but when it comes to compliance and auditing processes, how much is too much?

A common issue we find is that Supervisors and Team Leaders are challenged to find time to implement effective safety strategies to the very teams they are responsible for as they are not only operationally time poor but also burdened by mountains of paperwork and onerous compliance processes that are more aimed at litigation safeguards rather than forging a safer workplace. Then there are the safety audits by the customer, the customer’s customer all the way down the supply chain.

When a workplace incident occurs, commonly the actual root cause of the incident was a decision-making process of an individual involved, even after all the safety processes and checkpoints had been ratified. This leaves to question the effectiveness of these processes to perform their desired function.

Is there room in the safety industry to be smarter about streamlining our compliance processes and invest more focus into complimenting them or even substituting components of them with more behavioural based strategies?

“activation” and “intervention”

Traditionally, safety is purported to be the condition of being protected from harm or other non-desirable outcomes. The key human factors necessary to achieve safety in my opinion are “activation” and “intervention”.

Even with robust safety processes in place, worker complacency and desensitization to a work task or environment can be contributing factors to an unsafe workplace. Activation seeks buy-in from workers through engagement of thought processes to shift focus back to workplace safety to ensure concentration and motivation is maintained and cultivating safe work practices.

Intervention is the axle of a safety culture where it is ok to speak up about safety or even stop work without criticism if it is believed to be unsafe.  Some other forms of intervention include, simply checking in or aiding someone who appears to be struggling with a work task, or who appears to be going through some mental health issues that are affecting their ability to work safely. Or simply reporting or rectifying unsafe work practices or conditions.

Is safety really out of control? It’s time we began to address streamlining compliance processes and allocating more time to invest in cultivating positive human factors to achieve better workplace safety?

Many businesses can easily streamline their management systems and in turn improve on the way that they manage compliance in their environment and change the culture to safety.  In today’s technology there are many ways to do this.  Gone are the days of the good old excel spreadsheet and the 3-ring folder sitting on the office shelf with all your policies, procedures and checklists.

Cloud based risk management technology

Cloud based risk management technology such as Safetyminder, allows any worker to have access to the company’s management system at the touch of a hat.  Being responsible for reporting your own incident and identifying hazards on the spot, notifying management immediately improves communication and accountability. It provides for workers to become empowered in their workplace by allowing them to understand safety principles and allowing them to keep in touch with what the employer is doing to ensure workplace safety is being managed. The ability to be able to undertake inspections and assign corrective actions when non-compliance is identified builds on the activation and intervention behaviours discussed earlier. Providing workers, the ability to access information on site using Safetyminder and becoming involved in maintaining safety during daily operations builds a confidence and the buy-in needed to ensure that safety is not seen as something that is out of control. Safetyminder enables you to manage, through streamlining and entrusting a positive worker culture to safety.

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Five Key Reasons Why Every Incident Should be Reported

accident reporting

Five Key Reasons Why accident reporting must be done

1 - It causes us to stop, think and reflect

Something undesirable has just happened that we would prefer not to happen again. Time has been lost, someone has been hurt or nearly hurt and we may also be dealing with property damage. The simple act of reporting compels us to stop, think and review what happened and how we can avoid it happening again. This small investment of time can lead to a larger payoff if we prevent more events of a similar nature from happening again.

2 - Accurate and complete reporting may be important later

The accident and incident report may later assist if further issues or complications arise. It may be important in assessing insurance or worker compensation claims. A report taken at the time may be viewed as more accurate and believable as opposed to one retrospectively written days or even months later.

3 - It is much harder to recall later down the track

If the situation does call for a formal report later, it can be very difficult later to recall the elements, particulars and details of the event. This is why reporting and contemporaneous notes were taken at the time can be so vital. As time goes on, the smaller details of any event fade. Just try remembering what colour shirt you were 2 months ago, and you will begin to understand how hard this exercise can be,

4 - Management and business leaders can utilize proper oversight and see trends

Reporting near misses and minor incidents gives managers a proper view on the type of incidents and accidents happening. We would all prefer to see no accidents or incidents but if and when they occur, looking at the timing, trends and details of them in context can allow business leaders and safety manager s to make informed decisions about where best to apply safety management resources. Looking at what parts of the body are affected, the times or shifts that event stake place in or common themes will add vital information at Management Review meetings.

5 - Good reporting leads to long term changes that benefit everyone

Good accident and incident reporting, particularly within a modern Safety Management System reporting tool like JLB Track, will assist in the long term changes an organization makes to prevent accidents and incidents from happening. Prevention is the ultimate answer, and this requires an organization to learn from its past.

The key take-away here is that reporting on accidents, incidents and near misses of all sizes is very important. It’s worth the investment in time and thought both in the short term but also in the long term.