How To Keep Employees Safe

This article published on the Skills Portal looks at ways on how employers can equip staff to safely execute their duties.

Do your employees perform their duties under hazardous working conditions? Keeping employees safe is fundamentally the responsibility of the employer.

Some organisations operate exclusively in high risk environments, while other professions merely contain aspects of danger.

For example mining and construction companies are known as dangerous work environments. Medical staff however are only occasionally exposed to infectious illnesses, an unavoidable side effect of working in the health sector.

Regardless of the danger levels employers have a duty to ensure the health and safety of their staff, says Phillip Verwey, a healthy and safety specialist.

“Training and safety instructions are legally required by the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act”

Here are four ways employers can equip staff to safely execute their duties.

Keeping staff safe starts with creating awareness. Employers have a responsibility to inform employees of all the potential dangers involved in their job.

According to the OHS Act, “ An employer shall instruct his employees in the proper use, maintenance and limitations of safety equipment and facilities provided”. In other words employers are expected to demonstrate the correct way to use equipment and execute duties.

If tasks are particular dangerous employers are required to provide safety training before workers can attempt such tasks, explains Verwey. “There are quite a number of other references throughout the various regulations that specifically refers to employees being trained and instructed before certain tasks can be assigned to them.”

Supervisors are generally experienced workers who are positioned to oversee the work being carried out. Once the first three elements have been implemented employers should look at providing supervision to ensure that health and safety is maintained in the workplace.

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