In this feature, seasoned SafeWork inspectors, Anthony Nicholson and John Mizzi, provide helpful tips and pointers.
John: One catchphrase I often tell clients is that if it’s worth doing, then it’s worth documenting. Work health and safety laws don’t require employers to document day-to-day activities such as worker consultation or training for most workplace tasks. However, documenting these things, as well as risk assessments, provides evidence they have actually been done. So if an inspector responds to a particular health and safety issue, then the employer will be able to show they have addressed the issue by producing a supporting document. I advise clients to get safety messages over to workers by holding a toolbox talk and document it, using templates from our website.
Documenting a toolbox talk does not need to be complex. All you need to do is simply note the date, attendees and key messages discussed with workers.
Anthony: Some employers will spend a fortune hiring a consultant to develop a health and safety system or buying an off-the-shelf one. Often, these are generic and not directly related to a specific business. Honestly, the best systems are ones developed by a business in conjunction with workers. It’s not rocket science, just a method of delivering simple safety messages, information and support to workers.
John: If you are documenting training or safe work procedures and recording a worker’s name to confirm they’ve been trained, then they are also more likely to comply.
Anthony: The idea is to keep it simple and not to over-complicate it.
John: If you are unsure how to document a toolbox talk, and have 50 workers or less, then call SafeWork and request a free workplace advisory visit. An inspector will happily show you how to do it and even provide the templates.
Anthony: All it costs employers is some commitment and their time.
John: Plus small employers who request an advisory visit are eligible to apply for a $500 rebate for the purchase of equipment or solutions they buy to improve workplace health and safety.
Find out more about our small business rebate program and search for ‘templates’ on our website.