Compliance in the workplace is about more than just protecting against fines. The most critical imperative for a business is to ensure that employees are able to work in a safe and comfortable environment that minimises the risk of injury – physical and emotional.
Workplace health and safety (WHS) compliance has always been essential, but for many years it was a relatively static, under-developed process. Hazard management and injury prevention strategies often received attention adequate to meet the minimum expectations, and in some cases failed to extend beyond the provision of annual leave and sick days; the notion of wellbeing was neglected.
Nowadays, however, employees are looking for much more than just a pay check at the end of the week. A healthy work/life balance is a key ingredient in a candidate's decision to take a job, and if businesses are failing to provide a satisfying work environment, they run the risk of not being able to attract the best workers, as well as staff retention issues. Considering wellbeing in overall WHS compliance is now a necessity.
How has WHS changed?
A 2016 report from EY notes that WHS researcher and advocate Sidney Dekker identified some clear differences between legacy WHS processes and the expectations of modern solutions. The fundamental characteristics are similar, but the language and focus of certain elements have evolved.
Where in the past WHS was largely based around process and compliance, more personal, employee-focused measures have emerged as the most effective strategies. Dekker notes that safety should now be defined as the "presence of positive capacities to make things go right," rather than an "absence of negative events".
Employee engagement is essential for health and wellbeing in the workplace
Meanwhile, adapting WHS measures now happens through insight and consultation, not rules and compliance, a change that leads to greater employee involvement. Seemingly minor tweaks to messaging can nurture greater engagement, and eliminate the frustrations of a top-down approach that may not always seem relevant to employees.
Employee engagement in health and safety
In its guidance around devising effective WHS processes, the ACT Government stresses the importance of ensuring commitment from leadership and providing an inclusive environment that encourages employee involvement.
Keeping WHS compliance relevant for workers has been a challenge, so having management take the lead on initiatives and clearly demonstrating their value sets the example for everyone to follow. That said, remaining open to suggestions from the workforce – elements of health and safety that leaders may not have considered – ensures that workers can take an active role in the process, and have opportunities to make their mark on the future of the business.
As Comcare notes, devising WHS and wellbeing programs that focus on the health risks of workers within the organisation are proven to increase engagement, reduce turnover and drive productivity. To narrow down precisely what those risks are, it makes sense to involve employees in the WHS compliance process.
How can Smartek help with workplace wellbeing initiatives?
Recognising that employee engagement is critical for businesses when considering health and wellbeing in the workplace, Smartek has developed solutions to facilitate collaboration and efficiency. Our business management tools are cloud-based, meaning they can be accessed anywhere on almost any device by employees, managers and senior leadership teams.
Podcast – Why big business needs to lead work health and safety https://t.co/XtkUxotgca
— Barringtons (@get_protected) April 28, 2017
Compliance management is a huge aspect of Smartek's solutions, covering both employees and equipment. By creating a repository for all compliance data – employee licensing information, plant service schedules and more – it's an effective tool to keep track of your business' obligations. Should any of your compliance elements be approaching renewal, Smartek can send alert notifications so you're never in breach of responsibilities.
It's not enough to simply implement a new WHS strategy, however; businesses must be able to monitor and adapt as necessary. With Smartek, reports are generated easily, and can be automatically emailed to you at a scheduled time, with easy exporting to many formats including Excel and PDF. The solution is also designed for maximum flexibility – if a specific report isn't readily available, our team can implement it for you.
There's little argument that employee engagement in health and safety makes your workplace a more enjoyable and safer place to work. To ensure your organisation has the ability to leverage that engagement and to support workplace wellbeing initiatives, get in touch with Smartek today.