• Leah Norman

Health & Safety - A way of life.

Making our work safer doesn’t always come naturally. It demands awareness from from both pour employees and our contractors.

While lapses in health and safety processes continue to feature in the News. Even with new penalties and media promotions, being unsafe in the workplace is still a present danger for many workers.  And, it’s so easy to change.

It won't be long until everyday life and unconscious safety practices go hand in hand.

It dawned on me last week as I had my niece (5) and nephew (3) helping me with some general maintenance tasks at our bach, how I practiced what I preach without even realising that I was doing it. At the simplest level, we conducted a safety 'toolbox' talk about what we needed to do and discussed the need to be careful of slope that we were working on. I spoke, mainly to my niece, about where she needed to stand and where to keep away from the need to wear a rain-jacket (PPE) when the drizzle started. My nephew even helped me to conduct a "pre-start check" of all of the gear we were using, to ensure that it was fit for purpose and in good condition.

As we went about our tasks, I was pleased to see that the rain-jackets stayed on with no complaint and both kids used both visual and audio cues to get my attention and that my niece asked questions prior to undertaking anything new as well as following everything that we had agreed on to keep us safe right from the start.

It would appear that my years of toolbox talks, auditing sites and ongoing studies in the OSH field, led me to take these actions subconsciously, without even thinking. So now I ask the question, how early is too early to start teaching people the concept of 'safety first'?

I would argue that it is never too early.

Early learning situations like the example above, in many instances are habit forming lessons that stay with people of the rest of their lives. When these children do eventually get into the workforce they already have a developed foundation from which to build their safety knowledge of whatever industry they choose to belong to, be it from office work to farming, construction to forestry.

Does this mean we will be able to remove the risk from everything we do? No. there will always be a risk in our life but properly managed these risks can be reduced to levels whereas in the weekend the worst thing that happened was I got a splinter! Safety doesn’t have to be hard we can do this!

Employers will continue to expect their employees to take responsibility for their own and one another’s safety and to work proactively on creating a safe working environment, ensuring that everyone goes home safe and sound at night. But safety awareness should extend beyond the workplace, for example when doing odd jobs, driving or taking part in sport, high risk or not.

Safety should be a way of life, and this is the case for a lot of people. It doesn't need to be hard work or overly difficult. Taking a short five minutes to do what you do what you normally do when undertaking anything new can make all the difference.

Disclaimer This article, and any information contained on our website is necessarily brief and general in nature, and should not be substituted for professional advice. You should always seek professional advice before taking any action in relation to the matters addressed.

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