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Safety dominates the list of Top OHS Issues for 2011

Safety is the number one occupational health, safety (OHS) and risk issue facing Australian organisations as they head into 2011 according to a survey of OHS professionals attending The Sydney Safety Show last month.

OHSMore than 90 percent of participants nominated the need to develop a safety culture through a people-based program as being of critical or high importance to their organisation while just over 80 percent cited the importance of highlighting to senior management the value of safety as a key business driver.

For the second year running the survey, which was conducted by ComOps, a leading Australasian provider of business software products and services, has highlighted the diversity of issues confronting OHS managers today. In addition to safety, other leading concerns include the need to understand and plan for OHS harmonisation laws, reducing the cost of injury management, and identifying, mitigating and managing risk, particularly in accordance with the new AS/NZS ISO 31000:2009 standard.

Environmental compliance continues to be of high or critical concern for almost three- quarters of OHS professionals, while more than half nominated contractor management and the need to deal with a rising tide of stress claims.

The most popular way of monitoring and analysing safety performance was with a dedicated OHS and risk management system.  Use of such systems rose from 44 percent of organisations in 2009 to 55 percent in 2010. Other methods of monitoring safety included Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and HR, payroll or in-house developed software.  The number of organisations supplementing these systems with manual or paper-based processes declined from over 50 percent in 2009 to 32 percent in 2010.

Moshe Woods, Safety, Risk & Claims Solutions, ComOps said, “The idea of a safety culture has been the subject of a lot of discussion lately, partly because it dovetails nicely with so many of the current OHS concerns.  For example, if you get safety right, you reduce risk and the incidence of injury.  However, it also offers much more.  A safety culture contributes to operational and production efficiencies, better employee relations and a more motivated workforce.  This is what we need to communicate to senior management.  Safety has to stop being treated as a niche concern and instead must become an entrenched part of the organisation’s processes and psyche.”

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David Olsen

David Olsen

An undercover economist and a not so undercover geek. Politics, business and psychology nerd and anti-bandwagon jumper. Can be found on Twitter: <a href="http://www.twitter.com/DDsD">David Olsen - DDsD</a>

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