Reduce your Liability through Smarter Occupational Health and Safety Management
Occupational health and safety management for employees, customers, and visitors is covered by a myriad of laws and regulations.
The development and implementation of an appropriate occupational health and safety management strategy should include effective reporting of concerns to the appropriate manager(s) along with an external facility to report concerns anonymously to Directors, Officers and Management.
An unsafe workplace is one of the nine reportable conduct types included in the Australian Standard AS8004-2003 Whistleblowing Protection Programs for entities.
Despite the ability to construct stringent security and develop occupational health and safety management systems, the ability to control workplace safety is often limited. Control is often intertwined with an over emphasis on, or replaced with trust.
Directors and Officers have the ultimate duty of care, but there are also provisions for persons concerned in the management of the company to use due diligence to prevent a breach of the relevant legislation occurring. Liability for occupational health and safety management lapses now extends beyond losses in terms of penalties and fines to the company, to loss of personal liberty and substantial fines for Directors, Officers and Managers.
Under NSW Occupational Health and Safety legislation, if a company contravenes any provision of the Act, each Director and person concerned in the management of the company is considered to have contravened the provisions, unless they can show they were not in a position to influence the company. Hefty penalties can be imposed on those found guilty of neglecting adequate occupational health and safety management with a maximum penalty of $1.65 million for the company and $165,000 for an individual and/or 5 years jail (no leniency for first time offenders).
At a recent meeting convened by the Safe Work Australia Council representing each of the States and Territories, it was agreed that the only way forward is to have a consistent approach to occupational health and safety management and law Australia wide, with NSW law most likely to be the benchmark.
Incidences of workplace bullying can have an adverse impact on the psychological wellbeing of an employee and prolonged bullying often manifests as a physical health issue for the aggrieved party. As such, matters of workplace bullying fall within the jurisdiction of the OHS legislation.
An environment or workplace culture needs to be created that makes it easier for people to speak out about workplace safety and bullying issues. Numerous public workplace safety and bullying campaigns have been directed at breaking down barriers and opening the lines of communication between employees and employers. Some employees are reluctant to seek instructions or clarification of them or speak out about bullying. Other employees are worried about losing their job or being ridiculed if they say no to what they perceive to be an unsafe or potentially hazardous task or stop to bullying.
To encourage people to come forward on workplace safety and bullying, employers must make those with information feel safe and secure and support them in reporting unsafe work practices confidentially and anonymously. This approach is the key to effective occupational health and safety management.
Simply placing trust in existing internal or workplace safety reporting systems without developing an external whistleblower program overlooks the fact that despite one´s best efforts, unfortunately some people do not trust their employer. A complementary external model maintains an employers´ responsibility to their employees and provides the balance needed for optimal levels of reporting of information that does exist.
The mechanisms for workplace safety reporting need to be considered to ensure they suit the workplace, its culture and that they reflect advances in technology. Methods of reporting, such as subjecting people (whistleblowers) to a face to face interview or interrogation over the telephone together with the risk of being identified, misunderstood or misquoted are no longer the only options. Other occupational health and safety management alternatives need to be explored and implemented.
Your-Call has developed a new approach to occupational health and safety management and reporting of unsafe workplace practices and the receipt of information from whistleblowers that blends traditional telephone-based disclosure management functions with powerful web-based reporting.
Your-Call´s online reporting solution of Your-Alert allows Directors, Officers and Managers to access in real-time 24/7, live information on workplace safety.
By implementing the Your-Call system, organisations can be pro-active about their occupational health and safety management and in the process protect themselves and their employees from breaches of workplace safety legislation.
The Your-Say service enables companies to uncover valuable suggestions and improve occupational health and safety management by collecting and encouraging feedback from employees.
Your-Alert and Your-Say sit alongside the organisation´s Code of Conduct promoting honesty, integrity and transparency and don´t replace existing processes for raising workplace safety concerns or feedback in the workplace, rather they complement these reporting mechanisms by providing an external independent reporting option to an organisation´s whistleblower policy and occupational health and safety management plan.
Our systems analyse information as it is reported and automatically flag any workplace safety or bullying behaviour which is contrary to policy.
Your-Call’s “iAnalysis” Case Management dashboard and analytics module allow the company to systematically document, investigate and resolve disclosures (whistleblower complaints) of unsafe workplace issues. From the initial notification of the disclosure through to its final resolution, the company can document the process in a convenient, centralised system maintained by Your-Call that helps you ensure disclosures and information are resolved effectively, efficiently and appropriately.
Real-time, immediate reporting puts Directors, Officers and Managers in control, enabling them to respond decisively to occupational health and safety management issues before serious injury occurs.
It provides Directors, Officers and Management with three workplace safety tools in one; deterrence, compliance/behaviour monitoring and risk mitigation.
Your-Call clients have reported reductions in workplace safety and bullying concerns arising from improvements in attitudes to safety, safety standards and bullying. Employees become an integral part of the monitoring process.
Our clients have attributed this in part to their employees’ acknowledgement of management’s commitment to encourage and protect those employees and stakeholders who come forward about workplace safety issues by engaging an independent and confidential alert line; and secondly having Your-Alert ticking away 24/7 in the background monitoring behaviour making people think, who´s watching what I am doing, am I going to get caught? Clients report these factors have made employees place safety first and think twice before engaging in bullying.
If you’re looking to implement a more effective occupational health and safety management strategy that will improve your OH & S performance, click here to email us and download our FREE The Ultimate Whistleblowing Checklist on how to establish a best-practice whistleblowing program, or simply call us on 1300 788 712 to discuss how Your-Call can best benefit your organisation.