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Safety Procedures and Not Getting Mugged

Posted by Andrew Watters on

When it comes to safety procedures and WHS compliance, you need to protect yourself. The buck stops with you (as PCBU), and there are always better and worse decisions that could have been made. Even when a knife-wielding mugger demands your wallet, what you do next is technically still your decision - and the consequences will be too. Today, we'll share some often forgotten tips for ‘Staying Safe’.

More specifically, we'll consider:

  1. Safety Procedures Operate Within a Business
  2. Safety Procedures Must be Evidenced
  3. Safety Procedures Should Protect You
  4. Safety Need Not be Overdone
  5. Safety Must Be Professionally Approached
  6. How to Know What You Need

Safety Procedures Operate Within a Business

We've said it often, but it bears saying again: WHS procedures must operate within the realities of a functioning and profitable business. Safety is rightly prioritised - but it should not be given demigod status, so that it rules over every other relevant business factor. 

This might seem like an unusual philosophy coming from a safety resource provider, but our resources were not developed in a classroom. Our developers and team members have relevant industry experience. We are not text-book theorists. We understand both industry and business realities. 

We unapologetically want your WHS resources to contribute to your business profitability.

Safety Procedures Must be Evidenced

That day is coming! Whether it's triggered by an accident, an incident, a routine compliance audit, a random inspection, or some other cause - ‘that’ day is coming. On ‘that’ day, when demands are being made of you, merely having safety procedures, policies, plans, or a system won't be enough. You're going to have to prove they are understood and implemented, and that will usually include demands for archived compliance records.  

These times that can feel like a mugging - even though they're not. It can feel like everything's out of your control - but it isn't. It can feel traumatic, but it doesn't have to. If you understand what's happening, answer questions coherently, and have the evidence required, you'll be fine. In other words, if you're ready when that day comes, you can have a "That's not a knife!" experience (for those of us old enough to remember Crocodile Dundee).

Safety Procedures Should Protect You

We know compliance checks don't have to be arduous because we've helped a lot of people keep their wallets! Since 2010, Occupational Safety Solutions has been assisting customers to both keep their workers safe, and avoiding a mugging (so to speak). We've helped thousands of PCBU's:

  • Select and implement suitable SWMS and WHS templates,  
  • Locate and present evidentiary compliance data, and
  • We've never had a PCBU breached during a WHS investigation.

Results like that do not happen by accident (pun intended). They are the result of meticulous development processes, applied quality assurance and quality control procedures, and our focus on ongoing client support. 

Our safety procedures and support resources are designed to serve you:

  1. At the time of purchase, 
  2. Throughout the operational life, and
  3. During any compliance checks that you experience.

This is exactly what they do! If you follow the guidelines and instructions, you'll be protected.

Safety Need Not be Overdone

Believe it or not, technically speaking, you only need a procedure or policy if you decide you do. Seriously! But there's a catch: you will be penalised and perhaps prosecuted if you make that decision badly.  

Australian Work Health and Safety legislation does not stipulate which safety procedures or policies must be prepared. Instead, they say that you must have appropriate policies and procedures in place to meet the safety outcomes of any relevant legislation. 

There are Australian, New Zealand and international standards (AS, AS/NZS and ISO), but with these standards, the regulators are reluctant to tell people precisely what to do in specific circumstances. 

You're the PCBU. It's your call! 

Should You Develop a Procedure, Policy or Resource? 

We believe safety procedures and policies should be created when:

  1. They contribute to businesses effectiveness, 
  2. They are necessary for the safety and protection of personnel, or 
  3. They are required for you to meet your WHS compliance obligations.

Of course, in many situations, all three circumstances can apply, but even if only one of those three is answered 'Yes', accessing or creating a safety procedure is usually wise.

These are the same principles we follow when deciding what resource to develop and how to develop them. We have no interest in creating unnecessary hoops to jump through or causing you to waste precious resources on what is cosmetic or unhelpful.  

Safety Must Be Professionally Approached

In addition to choosing what safety procedures and policies to purchase or develop, you also need to stay current with the regulations or legislation. For example, the wiring rule changes of AS/NZS 3000:2018 caused massive work for us. Comprehensively checking and adjusting 24 separate templates was a lengthy, detailed, expensive and (at times) annoying process. But that's what we do - so you don't have to!

This (and the ongoing support factors already mentioned) is why we suggest you don't go it alone. 

Also, our existing clients who used those resources were:

  1. Provided with the updated resources without charge (within 2 yrs of purchase), or
  2. Notified of the updated resources (if they were an older client).

How to Know What You Need

All this 'the decision is yours' stuff can free you, and terrify you. The authorities rarely tell you how to specifically manage safety, yet they are making significant and clearly stated demands. What's more, if anything goes wrong, you have to prove you met your duty of care and due diligence obligations. 

Perhaps the "Gimme your wallet" analogy isn't a bad one at all. Refusing the mugger's demands, or fighting back without appropriate resources, might get you into a world of hurt. Whether you hand over your wallet, or pull out your own knife, you're going to have explaining to do.

Select, Read and Call

We've just explained some factors you ought to consider when deciding on safety resource development or purchase. Now, let’s briefly explain how your decision can be helped.

Since we've been talking about Safety Procedures, we might use that website section to demonstrate (you'll find it under the WHS Documents menu).

There's 19 resources listed there and an excellent variety to demonstrate the point. You'll find plans, programs, procedures, charts, checklists and guidelines. They're listed alphabetically on the website, but I thought it would be helpful here if I grouped them by type. 

The list includes:

Plans and Programs

Procedures, Charts and Checklists

Guidelines

But Which Do You Need? Which Don't You Need?

Here are three helpful tips:

  1. Select a resource to see the resource description pages.
  2. Read the description. It will tell you if it is part of a larger package, relevant relationships to other documents, and a list of directly related (and hyperlinked) products. 
  3. If in doubt, phone us on 1800 304 336. 

This last choice (the phone call) is almost always the best. We don't pressure sell - instead, we seek to understand and advise. We have earned our reputation, and we aim to preserve it! We haven't pressure sold in the more than a decade that we've been operating. We're not about to start now.

So, that's the story on safety procedures and not getting mugged. Not an exhaustive analysis to be sure, but we hope it's been helpful. To summarise, keep the entire business in view, do follow the instructions and keep your records, use safety resources (and suppliers) that support you and get help as required.

As always, we hope this has been informative and empowering, and we encourage you to put these skills to work. Perhaps pick a link above and explore the information available? You can also Request a Callback or phone us on 1800 304 336 at any time. We'd like to help you keep your wallet, and perhaps even organise a bigger knife.

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