Removalists business owners, just as the owners of any other business type, have a duty and an obligation to ensure the health and safety of their employees. This obligation is not just a moral one that any decent employer would fulfil, but also a legal obligation as per workplace legislation related to employee welfare.
A key component of this legislation and the regulations that apply to the workplace is found within Work Health and Safety (WHS). WHS, which you may see written as Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S), is the basis for an employer managing the risks which could impact the health and safety of those who work for, and come into contact with, their business.
Unfortunately, many business owners see WHS as a cost and something which negatively impacts their profits. This is when they have to purchase equipment, training, and the costs associated with reducing risks and introducing safe working practices. Their viewpoint on this is short-sighted for more than one reason.
The starkest of this is the reality that if they do not comply with the applicable legislation and ensure their business is WHS compliant, they could be prosecuted. Worse, should an accident occurs, or someone is harmed, due to their lack of risk reduction actions, they could face compensation claims, in addition to any legal penalties.
Another reason a lack of WHS in the workplace is a false economy is that employees are going to feel less inclined to work at their maximum if they feel their well-being is being ignored by their employers. A happy and content workforce is more productive than an unhappy one, so fulfilling WHS obligations is not a cost, it is an investment in your business. The benefits that accrue by having proper WHS can be placed under four headings, which are:
- Assists with the retention of key staff
- Can encourage staff to be more productive
- Reduces the incidents of injuries and ill health within your workforce
- Reduces the risk of penalties and compensation claims caused by staff injury or illness
Assuming that these are a set of benefits you would love your removals business to receive, you might be asking what you need to do to ensure WHS is fully implemented. The WHS laws lay this out in generic terms as they need to apply to every business type. As such the list below does not lay out specifics but general obligations. This you must consider them and how they would apply to your removalists business. For WHS you must,
- Provide a safe and healthy working environment
- Provide and maintain safe equipment, machinery, and structures
- Implement safe working practices
- Ensure safe usage, handling and storage of equipment, machinery, structures, and substances
- Provide adequate facilities and maintain them
- Provide any and all information, instructions, training, instruction, or supervision related to and required for employee safety
- Monitor the well-being and health of employees and their working conditions
You will note that the WHS regulations do not prescribe exactly how you impend any one of these, so you have scope as to how what steps, measures, and action you might take to comply with them. Another important point of note is that it is not just the shoulders of employers that WHS rests upon. Employees also have obligations too. As such they must,
- Take care of their own health and safety
- Ensure not to do anything that could harm others
- Follow all WHS instructions
- Follow all of their employer’s WHS policies and procedures
This brings us to the final point we wish to make and that is, as WHS places WHS obligations upon employers and employees alike, you should see this as a team effort and one in which everyone within your removalists business can play a part.