The reasons for spending time on Accident Prevention should be obvious to all. If you can stop accidents from happening, you don’t have claims. Your premiums are lower and your production isn’t affected by costly Workers’ Compensation premiums. Following are a few things you can do to ensure that your liability is minimised.
Start with when you’re hiring
Be sure you check out all prospective employees for things like working history and medical conditions (in some cases a pre-placement medical examination is indicated). Do reference checks and check that the information supplied to you by the applicant is correct. If you don’t, you may end up paying for a claim that wasn’t your responsibility. Exercise care when rejecting applicants due to health or other reasons or you will run foul of the discrimination in employment laws. The only valid reason to reject an applicant is evidence that they cannot perform the inherent requirements of the job.
Hazard identification and elimination
How often do you walk around your work site with the express purpose of identifying and then eliminating hazards? Are you a hazard yourself? Take time out each week to inspect your premises. Where you see something unsafe or somebody doing unsafe things, stop immediately and correct the situation. In this way you can minimise the risk of injury to fellow employees and thereby, the risk of claims. Don’t allow the workforce to become slack about safety. It should be one of your highest priorities.
Remember that there are a number of legislative provisions which could affect your workplace. For example the WH&S Regulations to name but one. These are some of the areas/operations which need to be addressed:
- your work premises,
- your work practices, work systems and shift working arrangements (including hazardous processes, psychological hazards and fatigue related hazards),
- plant (including the transport, installation, erection, commissioning, use, repair, maintenance, dismantling, storage or disposal of plant),
- dangerous goods (including the storage or handling of dangerous goods),
- hazardous substances (including the production, handling, use, storage, transport or disposal of hazardous substances),
- the presence of asbestos installed in a place of work,
- manual handling (including the potential for occupational overuse injuries),
- the layout and condition of a place of work (including lighting conditions and workstation design),
- biological organisms, products or substances,
- the physical working environment including the potential for any one or more of the following:
- fire or explosion,
- people slipping, tripping or falling,
- contact with moving or stationary objects,
- exposure to noise, heat, cold, vibration, radiation, static electricity or a contaminated atmosphere,
- the presence of a confined space,
- the potential for workplace violence and bullying and harassment.
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Ensure that everybody who needs to work on a new task or something different is properly trained. Insurers have catalogues of claims from people who are injured on the job simply because they didn’t know what they were doing or hadn’t been properly instructed in their task.
Ensure that at least one employee is fully trained in first aid. If an injury does occur, minimise its impact by having people on hand who can assist the injured employee. Assess the situation and get them to hospital or to medical attention if required.
Do you have an emergency evacuation procedure or instructions on what to do in the event of a medical emergency? If you don’t and do not practice them regularly you run the risk of a substantial fine as well as an employee (or you) injury.