Over the past year, according to a Citi Research survey of Australia’s top 100 public companies, nearly half of all Australian employers recorded declines in the rate of lost-time injury frequency (LTIFR). Additionally, more than 40 percent reported lower overall injury rates.
And almost across the board, Australian companies have been improving their safety records.
Much of that can be traced back to the work that Australian legislators and safety officials have done in recent years to make it easier for businesses to navigate the nation’s many laws and regulations covering workplace safety.
For instance, beginning in 2008 and culminating in 2012, national, state, and territory work health and safety (WHS) laws were made consistent. While state governments are still charged with inspecting workplaces and enforcing safety regulations, the various rules are “harmonised” across all of Australia.
In addition, Australia has toughened workplace safety regulations by expanding the web of liability. Now, if any employee gets hurt on a job, not only is his or her company liable, but so is his or her supervisor. That means there is personal employee liability in addition to company liability.
Despite improvements in on-the-job injury rates, employers in Australia can’t afford to be sanguine. While numbers may be improving across the board, the nation’s supermarkets and other retailers — which employ up to 11 percent of Australian workers — still top the list of companies with the worst injury rates.
The mining, materials, and heavy industry sectors generally reported the lowest injury rates. However, those same industries reported the highest number of employee deaths caused by injury.
That means workplace safety remains a serious issue in Australia. And Australian employers must continue to build on their efforts to meet Safe Work Australia’s goals to reduce workplace death, injury, and disease — because a strong safety record is a sign of a well-run company, according to the Citi Research survey.
“A company's safety performance and approach can provide a window into management quality,” Citi's Elaine Prior wrote in the introduction to the fiscal year 2015 survey. “A safe business may also be a well-run, efficient business. There can be costs, production disruptions or shutdowns associated with safety incidents. Safety performance influences companies' workers' compensation costs. A contracting companies' safety record may affect its ability to win contracts, particularly some companies in the resources and heavy industries sectors.”
How to Improve
While reducing employee injuries and deaths may sometimes seem like a matter of better management, there are affordable high-tech solutions that can make the job much easier in any country, by tapping into the power of mobile cloud technology and slashing paperwork to a minimum.
Canvas offers more than 130 mobile applications aimed at improving safety in the Australian market. Many of these apps are specifically aimed at the two industries that Australian safety inspectors visit most often: retailers and mines.
These apps, which are easy to download onto a smartphone or tablet, can help small, medium, and enterprise level businesses:
- Create a safety management plan.
- Develop and maintain safety checklists for every area of your business, from the front office to field operations to the mine shaft.
- Keep track of new safety regulations as they come in from Safe Work Australia.
And that’s just a start. After moving from paper checklists to mobile, you’ll never have to drag around a big binder while doing a self-inspection (or following along with the safety inspector) again.
You’ll be gathering data while completing your internal safety and health inspections and storing it in the cloud. From there, it is at your fingertips to be instantly shared, retrieved, and analyzed to offer helpful insights on your workplace and your employees.
The focus of your analysis can be tailored to meet your company’s unique needs. With mobile apps, the cumulative data story you collect will make your worksite safer than ever and take your safety to entirely new levels.
Try GoCanvas free for 30 days. Start with a look at our workplace safety apps aimed at the Australian market — just click here.