While high profile deaths in the mining industry may have hit headlines in recent months, the proportion of worker fatalities over the past ten years remains highest in transport, postal, and warehousing, according to Safe Work Australia.
Having a system that accounts for the complexities of workplace safety, instead of jumping at the most dramatic headlines, ensures that a workplace remains safe and productive for the long term.
The benefits of instituting such a system are significant. In the year to August 1, 2019, 83 workers died while on the job in Australia. Across the economy as a whole, the cost of work-related injury and disease cost Australia $61.8 billion, which represents 4.1 per cent of the nation’s total GDP.
Hidden within these larger numbers are the stories of the individual workers and families who bear the cost of injuries and diseases at work. In July 2019, Jack Gerdes, working on the Baralaba North coal mine was found entangled in an excavator access ladder, according to the Queensland Department of Mines and Energy. Gerdes partner, Leanne Drew, waited for the buzz on her mobile phone to inform her that Gerdes was safe, but, as reported in The Saturday Paper, spent an agonising period waiting for the confirmation.
“I just spent most of the day in front of the computer, to be honest,” said Drew.
“I just started getting shaky, and lots of swearing, and lots of anger, lots of: ‘Are you freaking serious?”
Preventing these stories from occurring in the future requires a proactive and responsive workplace health and safety risk management program. From the person to the institutional level, companies must also comply with stringent and at times complex laws that govern workplace health and safety.
These laws require that employers take a risk-based approach to ensuring that injuries and deaths at work are minimised. To do so, employers or their identified safety specialists must identify and control workplace hazards, to prevent an injury occurring.
To manually complete this risk-identification, particularly at large and complex operations which require employees to complete difficult or hazardous tasks, can place a significant strain on company resources. In addition, a manual check cannot be easily updated to account for changes in circumstances without a wholesale review.
To grapple with the requirement for a safe workplace, and the limits of manual risk-identification processes, companies in a range of industries have begun to look to the latest in innovation, just as they do for their own production processes. The result of innovation in safety management is WHS Monitor, a cloud-based work health and safety compliance management system.
The flexible system allows companies to manage, record, and report on all aspects of an organisation’s health and safety obligations and requirements.
Starting from the point of operational compliance, WHS Monitor to allow companies to ensure that they are compliant with standards such as the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011, AS/NZS 4801 (Occupational Health and Safety Management System Specification), ISO 45001 (Occupational Health and Safety Management System), AS/NZS ISO 31000:2009 (Risk Management).
With this as a fundamental framework for the software package, WHS Monitor’s locally based engineers design, create and maintain the platform.
For employees or safety coordinators the software is designed to be adaptable to each workplace, yet easy to use. The platform is interactive, allowing employers to input their own specific business data through a simple and intuitive user interface. To support the ease of access to this user-interface, the software is available from any location, via the cloud, and can be brought up on a mobile device, with notifications enabled for up-to-date appraisals of the system.
When inputting a business’s workplace safety regime, the WHS Monitor software platform allows users to conduct a site risk assessment and identify hazards while prioritising risks. The next step is to define and control the hazards or tasks that were identified. The software then allows users to create a Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) or a Job Safety Analysis (JSA) by collating and inputting information automatically from the completed risk assessments. This enables users to avoid manually processing the assessments with the knowledge the JSAs and SWMSs will be legally compliant.
In addition to these fundamental requirements, the WHS Monitor has a number of modules that can be utilised depending on the nature of the business profile and the hazards the safety manager identifies. These include asset management systems, contractor management application, and chemical management solutions.
Similar to the system as a whole, all of these modules come with what is expected of an up-to-date software-based management system. For example, the centralised collation of data avoids messy paperwork, and customisable access levels enables individualised access and the security of the system. In addition, users can be secure in the knowledge that the software will produce reports which are compliant with the legislated framework.
With businesses increasingly embracing flexibility in their production processes, WHS Monitor slots into a dynamic organisation. The platform’s incident management solution allows for the identification of emerging safety hazards before they become critical and subsequently ensure that sites and individuals are rehabilitated.
Ensuring a smooth interface between the physical and virtual assets of the company is the WHS Monitor’s Q-tap digital information labels. The Apple or Android-ready mobile version of the software can scan labels affixed to an asset. Not only does this enable the quick and intuitive accessing of information, but the logging of incidents, the movement of individuals, and rapid site assessments.
Across all of the above applications and features, WHS Monitor comes with ongoing system support from the locally-based team at Arventa. From onboarding and training so that each business can make the most out of the software, to further consulting for effective implementation, the system has whole-of-life support built into the package.