Safety is top concern

by 17 Nov 2010

Occupational health, safety (OHS) professionals have cited safety as the number issue facing Australian organisations as they head into 2011.

In a survey of delegates at The Sydney Safety Show last month, more than 90 per cent of participants nominated the need to develop a safety culture through a people-based program as being of critical or high importance to their organisation

Just over 80 per cent cited the importance of highlighting to senior management the value of safety as a key business driver. In addition to safety, other leading concerns include the need to understand and plan for OHS harmonisation laws, reducing the cost of injury management, and identifying, mitigating and managing risk, particularly in accordance with the new AS/NZS ISO 31000:2009 standard. The most popular way of monitoring and analysing safety performance was with a dedicated OHS and risk management system. Use of such systems rose from 44 per cent of organisations in 2009 to 55 per cent in 2010. Other methods of monitoring safety included Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and HR, payroll or in-house developed software.   Moshe Woods, safety, risk & claims solutions at ComOps said: “The idea of a safety culture has been the subject of a lot of discussion lately, partly because it dovetails nicely with so many of the current OHS concerns. For example, if you get safety right, you reduce risk and the incidence of injury.

“However, it also offers much more. A safety culture contributes to operational and production efficiencies, better employee relations and a more motivated workforce.

“This is what we need to communicate to senior management.  Safety has to stop being treated as a niche concern and instead must become an entrenched part of the organisation's processes and psyche.”

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