Debunking Common Workplace Safety Misconceptions
While businesses are becoming increasingly aware of best health and safety practice in the workplace, there still exists a number of misconceptions that prevent businesses from operating safely.
It is impossible to create a hazard-free workplace
Research has shown that 99% of all workplace accidents are avoidable. They key to identifying and mitigating risk is carrying out a thorough risk assessment and putting the correct procedures in place.
If employees follow a mentality that all accidents are unavoidable, it is less likely that safe work procedures will be followed. This is why it is important to stress the idea that working together to create a hazard free workplace. This can be achieved by creating a positive work culture.
Complying with health and safety law is too expensive
While there is often an immediate upfront cost to implementing health and safety systems, a cost/benefit analysis will likely prove that the cost of an accident far outweighs the cost of implementation.
Some costs of an unsafe workplace include:
- Poor attendance
- Low performance
- Work related injuries
- High staff turnover
- Damage to property due to accidents
My employees can choose whether or not to use PPE provided by business
Health and Safety legislation makes it absolutely clear that it is the businesses responsibility to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their employees.
While most businesses are aware that they are required to complete risk assessments and take all reasonable steps to eliminate and reduce risk, many are less sure on their responsibility when it comes to reinforcement.
However, it is the businesses responsibility to ensure all policies are reinforced and managed – including the use of personal protective equipment.
If an employee suffers an accident because they have failed to use PPE, the business is likely to be liable. Some of the steps business should take include:
- Integrate PPE into policies and procedures.
- Ensure all staff understand their requirements and properly trained to use PPE.
- Ensure any equipment is in working order at all times.
- Carry out inspections to ensure PPE is being used.
- Talk to employees to find out if there are reasons for not using PPE and taking steps to rectify.
- Take action on any employees who continually fail to use the equipment provided.
We have excellent safety record – an accident won’t happen to us
Many workplace fatalities and major injuries are first-time offences. Before the incident occurred, it is likely that the business also had an excellent record. A longstanding record could simply be luck or the systems in place could have been working. Yet it does not mean that they will always work.
With workplaces constantly evolving, new hazards and risks are continually created. New employees come into the business, new roles are created, environments change and new equipment is introduced.
This is why regular risk assessments are important! Risk assessments should be scheduled on a regular basis along with reviews of current procedures, to ensure they are still relevant and effective.
It is also important to roll out appropriate training to new employees and carry out inspections and servicing of equipment, tools, and vehicles.