Most small businesses close for a well-deserved break with families and friends, something we all understand when running a small business.

While you prepare for another busy year, please taking the time to ensure your workplace is safe for you and your employees return. Some small businesses will require additional measures to ensure a safe workplace, however let’s start with 7 simple and easy steps.

  1. Look around and critically inspect your office, site or building as if you were looking at another small business, this is an important step as we naturally tend to overlook our own workplace. TIP: If you have a friend or colleague that you can exchange a favour for, ask them to critically inspect your workplace and you can return the favour. Download this free ‘Safety Inspection Form’ that can be used as a basis for the inspection.

  1. Safety Equipment: Take out your first aid kit and review the contents, including expiry dates. You can find a complete Worksafe approved content list on page 8 of this document. Feel free to download WorkSafe Code of Compliance – First Aid in the Workplace. After you have completed this, check your Fire Extinguishers, Exit Lighting and all electrical leads, ensure all electrical leads are tested and tagged by a qualified electrician and a record of all leads have been provided to you for your records.

  1. Licences and Competencies: You are required to obtain a copy of all licences and assess your employees for competence, this will ensure your employees are competent in the tasks they undertake. Ensure all licences are current and up to date. You will also need to keep a record of this, keep all records for a minimum of 7 years, even if an employee has left your business.

  1. Are you or your employees exposed to loud noise? Noise that exceeds 85 dc will damage hearing and the damage is irreparable. Hearing loss occurred when a person is exposed to noise that exceeds the legal limit. A few things you can do are, conduct a noise level assessment, using a qualified person. If you or your employees are exposed to noise over the legal limit, ensure an audiometric hearing test is conducted within three months of commencement with your business, then biannually (VIC). Provide hearing protection for you and your employees and reinforce the requirements to wear the protection.

  1. Do I need Safety Data Sheets for all my chemicals in the workplace – even fuel, hand soap, etc.? Yes, you do. There is a requirement that your employees are aware of any chemical, its use, what the chemical contains, consequences if they are exposed to a chemical and medical information if they inhale, ingest, touch or use the chemical. Legally companies who manufacture or supply a chemical must provide the consumer with a Safety Data Sheet. Due to new requirements, ensure the Safety Data Sheet are GHS approved.

  1. Now the most important part. Ensure your employees are inducted into the Safety requirements of your business. This will ensure they understand their legal requirements and rights. My moto in Safety is ‘They Don’t Know What They Don’t Learn’ so take the time to ensure you and your employees understand their role in Safety. Feel free to download a general safety induction form and add to the form where you see fit.

  1. Are plant and equipment ready for us? Its easy when your busy to miss a service, a plant safety check and risk assessments. Ensure plant and equipment are tested, serviced and ready for a safe year. Feel free to download a general plant safety prestart check form and add to the form where you see fit.

Safety should be a priority for your business, it ensures you and your employees are safe and more importantly that they feel you care about their health and wellbeing. It will also ensure you have a productive workplace, minimise or even better, eliminate injuries, lost time and compensation claims. So, you see, it’s a win win for everyone and everyone gets to spend another Christmas in 2018 unharmed with their family and friends.

Please contact me for additional information and guidance to a safe, happy and productive workplace. Have a safe 2018.

Sonia Fernandes Director Encompass Business Solutions P/L M: 0488 225 445 P: (03) 5435 4072 W: E: