By guest author, Ben Nichol, Matthews Safety Products*
It’s not taking too heavy a tone to say that inadequate health and safety in your plant can cost. Big time.
Workplace injuries and illnesses can incur huge monetary losses from liability claims, then there’s the reputation loss. A workforce diminished by preventable sickness or injury – with the resulting productivity hit — really only comes back to bite those in charge (whether it’s the business owner, manager or whomever).
Some facts and figures: time to get serious
Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) ‘Work-related Injuries Survey’ shows that the injury rate for young workers in the manufacturing industry was 44% higher than the rest of the young Australian workforce put together.
Since 2008, Safe Work Australiahas monitored occupational health and safety (OHS) in Australia, doing some serious work in improving workers’ compensation rights if they succumb to insufficient health and safety precautions. Its extensive report, Key Work Health and Safety Statistics, Australia, published in 2012, notes that a typical compensation claim involves a 4-week absence from work, but 25% of claims result in a 12-week or more absence.
The overall cost of claims, the resulting work absences and diminished production were estimated to cost the Australian economy a staggering $60.6 billion in the 2008-09 financial year. This equated to a whopping 4.8% of GDP.
Setting up barriers: a saving, not a cost
Accidents can — and will — happen — but you can significantly reduce the likelihood and severity by taking appropriate action now. You may think you can do without any initial outlay, but consider the consequences of cutting corners: a few dollars now could save thousands down the line. And could even save a livelihood or a life.
Most employers take pride in their track record. They let (potential) employees know what steps they’ve taken to reduce accidents and injuries.
And don’t forget: a well-looked-after workforce is also productive.
Have a quick think about the following:
- safety education
- fire, gas and smoke detection
- spill kits
- flooring and appropriate flooring covers
- handling of hazardous substances
- noise control
- labels and signs
- warning systems
- fire alarms
- pollution control
- compensation guarantees, procedures and management
All of the above — and more — will be targeted at this year’s Safety in Action 2013 in Melbourne, from 19-21 March.
Our safety products division, Matthews Safety Products, will have a range of spill-management products at Stand J26. Come and ask for a demonstration and talk to us about your business needs.
Safety In Action is all about what products and services are out there; there’ll also be interactive live presentations and free seminars.
Key Work Health and Safety Statistics Australia, 2012, available from: http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/SWA/about/Publications/Documents/677/Key_Work_Health_and_Safety_Statistics_Australia_2012.pdf
About the author:
Matthews Australasia is the authorised Australian distributor of New Pig Safety Products, offering a huge variety of spill-absorbent and spill-containment products, as well as safe storage solutions. These are distributed under the Matthews Safety Products arm, headed up by Ben Nichol.