The owners of small and medium sized businesses are being urged to take a hands-on approach to workplace safety and join their workers on the shop-floor to better understand safety risks.
WorkSafe made the call after three leading Victorian CEOs took on the challenge to go undercover to see first hand the reality of workplace safety with their workers and gain insights they would never have had sitting in their corporate office.
Neil Coulson of Jayco Corporation, Phil Smith of Fletcher Jones and Greg Pullen of Northern Health all spent a day with their workers, under the guise of a workplace safety researcher, to find out more about musculoskeletal injuries in Victorian workplaces.
Costing business more than $1 billion a year in treatment and rehabilitation costs alone, musculoskeletal injuries are injuries to muscle and bones including sprains, strains, fracture and breaks.
Most commonly caused by tasks such as lifting, pushing or pulling, as well as slips, trips and falls, 50 people a day suffer preventable musculoskeletal injuries.
Fletcher Jones CEO, Phil Smith, said The Skeleton Project – baring the bones on workplace safety, provided lessons for the owners of small and medium-sized businesses who may not realise the impact safety could have on their business.
“There is always a pressure to reduce costs in a business, but SMEs need to understand that safety does affect their bottom line. In addition to ensuring your workers aren’t at risk, a safe workplace can ultimately lead to better business outcomes,” said Mr Smith.
“It’s easy to ‘talk the talk’ and say there is nothing more important than your staff’s safety. But having taken the time to look at what goes on in store from a safety perspective, I’ve made a personal commitment to change our business culture from being focused on cutting costs to one that also prioritises safety.”
WorkSafe Chief Executive, Greg Tweedly, said the aim of The Skeleton Project was to help CEOs and business owners understand that to tackle the issue of musculoskeletal injuries, change and influence had to come from the top.
“We hope the experiences of our three CEOs will encourage others to get out among their workers to start a conversation in their business about safety and encourage open and honest dialogue.”
WorkSafe has turned these undercover experiences into a video mini-series called, ‘The Skeleton Project.’ Watch it online now at http://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/backonsafety.
Employers can learn more about the campaign as part of a series of WorkSafe information sessions being held at 18 locations around Victoria from 17 May.