The Safety First Conference & Expo has opened in Melbourne with leading industry professionals discussing key themes for improving Australian workplace safety levels. Day one of the four-day event commenced with national work health and safety policy agency Safe Work Australia and safety software company MYOSH referencing digital tools that are impacting the workplace.
Opening the Safety First Conference speaker program, Michelle Baxter, CEO of Safe Work Australia reminded attendees of the improvements in Australian workplace safety over the past 30 years, with Australian workers now being three times less likely to be killed at work and twice as less likely to be seriously injured than in 1985.
However, Ms Baxter commented that there are further gains that still must to be made, with thousands of Australians still sustaining serious workplace injuries or illnesses each year.
To help Australia meet its goal as ‘worlds’ best in workplace safety’, Ms Baxter reflected on the strategic approaches needed by organisations, “We need organisations to move beyond just compliance with the laws, for them to show leadership and ‘design in safety’.”
Ms Baxter said that a visible and practical commitment to safety by workplace leaders is a strong motivator for safety compliance – as workers recognise their boss care about their health and safety and so should they.
Dr Miller, also from Safe Work Australia noted beyond the legal and moral arguments there is compelling evidence for the business case to ‘design out workplace risks’ with a potential two to one return on investment.
Safe Work Australia is scanning the landscape for emerging issues including how changing technology can be used to communicate health and safety messages. Dr Miller noted that many Australian work health and safety regulators now use digital technology to send targeted short safety messages some linked to YouTube. Commenting on this approach, Dr Miller said that it will be interesting to see the impact of this push technology to help people become better informed.
Continuing the digital theme, Adrian Manessis, Business Development Manager of MYOSH commented that smartphones are a powerful tool in campaigns for promoting workplace safety.
The MYOSH platform was designed to work on smartphones, making it easier for people to report incidents and hazards – which can then be actioned – on the fly.
“When people see something that they can take report or take action on easily, they’re much more likely to act: which means organisations get much more data about their real safety performance,” Mr Manessis commented. “The right systems put safety in everyone’s hands.”
The SafetyFirstexpo.com.au continues until Friday May 29, with daily programs of expert speakers and panels providing ideas and practical strategies for safety professionals. For program details or to register, visit www.safetyfirstexpo.com.au