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Do you measure up to the first pillar of workplace safety?

The current WorkSafe Victoria medium segment intervention strategy targets businesses with a remuneration of $1 – $20 million. It encourages these businesses to integrate safety into their business management systems, to ensure they practice prevention rather than reaction, and gain commitment from owners/directors to the process.

However, many people feel that current models of safety management systems are far too complex for the medium segment, resulting in WorkSafe developing the “Seven Pillars of Safety” – a more simplified approach to safety in the workplace.

The first pillar, Senior Management Roles and Accountability, sets out clear top down responsibility, delegation and KPI’s for OHS and Return To Work (RTW). WorkSafe want these initiatives supplemented with advice from a certified OHS professional to ensure the organisation has the structure to proactively manage health and safety.

So how does your workplace measure up to the first pillar?

Area: Demonstration of commitment

What to look for:

  • Policies current and displayed.
  • Senior management involvement.
  • Program for continuous review.

Expected practice:

  • Policies displayed and kept up to date.
  • Senior management involved in OHS committee meetings.
  • Senior management conduct regular walk through site inspections with workers.
  • Roles and responsibilities stated as part staff induction training.
  • Senior management drives strategic safety activities and planning.
  • Person assigned at senior level with agreed targets.
  • Program is signed off by CEO and reviewed at board meetings monthly.
  • Evidence of alterations to program on as needs basis.

Unacceptable practice:

  • No policies developed or displayed.
  • Senior management with no formal OHS roles and responsibilities.
  • No program in place / incomplete review.

Area:  Safety duties assigned and understood

What to look for:

  • Position descriptions.

Expected practice:

  • Position descriptions list safety duties and responsibilities and are measured for all job levels.
  • They are developed by managers in consultation with their workers.

Unacceptable practice:

  • Position descriptions do not exist. 

Area:  OHS Advice

What to look for:

  • Engagement with a certified OHS professional.

Expected practice:

  • Ongoing relationship.
  • Direct employment or regular engagement.

Unacceptable practice:

  • None or only after incident.

This simplified approach is designed to support the jugglers in medium businesses that have OHS and RTW responsibilities on top of their normal duties.  It will establish and confirm their role as the ringmasters, not the experts and as facilitators, not doers of everything.

WorkSafe have found that “jugglers” lack confidence, skills and capability, but are expected to have all the answers and are often presented with an overwhelming amount of complex information.  The aim is to provide them with support that is easy to access and tailored to their needs.

At Work Safety Hub  we are using the seven pillars as a guideline. Businesses now have a much simpler view and understanding of their roles and responsibilities.


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Robert ONeill

Robert ONeill

Robert is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Work Safety Hub and has over 10 years’ experience in managing safety and risk management programs. His key specialties include; safety leadership & culture, safety systems, independent advisor, coaching and facilitator roles, risk assessments and independent audits.

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