Just like life – in business there are two things you absolutely cannot avoid.
For life, of course, it’s taxes and death.
For business – it’s tax and compliance.
Or at least it should be.
But did you know that as of the 8 September this year,
108 Australians died while at work?
Death shouldn’t be a part of the equation at all in the workplace, but in drastic circumstances when compliance is managed ineffectively consequences occur.
Fines and increased insurance premiums are common (and by far the luckiest penalty), but more drastic and far reaching outcomes occur such as property damage, injury and unfortunately death.
I question how many of these deaths are due to poor training measures and compliance reporting?
In May 2015 alone, Safe Australia reports that of 11 fatalities for the month, 2 each were due to crushing, drowning and being trapped in machinery.
The remaining 5 fatalities were all different types of incidents including being:
- hit by moving object (unattended vehicle) – not on a public road,
- vehicle accident – public road crash,
- hit by moving object other than vehicle and
- other type of incident.
Without knowing the details of these incidents intimately I can only hope that these were pure unfortunate ‘out of the blue’ occurrences rather than ‘accidents waiting to happen’. The latter indicating a workplace not having the right systems in place from the beginning.
Unfortunately I don’t think we can attribute ALL 108 deaths to being “out of the blue”.
Which means many of these deaths could have been avoided.
Undoubtedly the whole compliance training and reporting process for many SMEs can be difficult, costly and time consuming. For these reasons, many deliver compliance programs that can be considered substandard. At best.
But hands up who agrees lack of finances, resources and time are good enough reasons for death?
I didn’t think so.
NO business – regardless of size – can afford to fly under the radar, shirk their responsibilities or be flippant about occupational health and safety and compliance training. (Nor should any Director who can be held personally liable for incidents that occur at work with negligence resulting in personal fines or even imprisonment.)
In today’s digital world it is completely downright, no bones about it UNACCEPTABLE for a business to run an ineffective compliance program.
Especially for the reasons listed above.
All aspects of life – home, shopping, relationships and yes definitely work – has been made infinitely easier by technological advancements.
Affordable technology is readily available to companies (of all sizes and budgets) to deliver:
- staff an industry best continuous training program (like an online training that teaches how to operate machinery properly or OHS training that informs what to do in an emergency)
- to manage compliance reporting to industry best standards (where as Director of Records you can be confident that all staff are compliant and competent in what they do. All of the time.); and
- (at the touch of a button) all the up to date compliance assessments and records that you will need if faced with a workcover investigation or compensation claim and the need to prove duty of care.
So any business running their compliance programs ineffectively should have a good long hard look at themselves and their systems. Now.
Each business owes it to their staff to do better.
Each business needs to keep death out of the equation in the workplace.
P.S. – Between commencing and finalising this article for publishing (just one week) the death toll for 2015 jumped from 108 death as of 8 September to 119 from 15 September.
11 deaths in 1 week!
1. Safe Work At Australia, 21 September 2015,
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