Safety push for small business

SMALL businesses are being encouraged to take more responsibility for safety in their workplaces.

A program, Building a Safe and Healthy Workplace, that will be run by SGIO has been launched to help small businesses lift their workplace safety standards.

The program includes a six-step implementation, a series of workplace checklists, risk management audit procedures and training courses for employees and supervisors.

SGIO State manager Garry Moore said the program was designed to reduce the number of workers’ compensation claims, which in turn would lead “to reductions in worker compensation premiums”.

Few in the small business sector disagree that workers’ compensation is an employer’s responsibility.

However, they feel the amount of red tape attached to the workers’ compensation system is excessive.

WA Small Business and Enterprise Association executive director Philip Achurch said the SGIO program was certainly an improvement on what had been available in the marketplace.

“I think there is a bit of a problem in the workers’ compensation area, understandably so because of the amount of regulation,” Mr Achurch said.

“The messages to small business about workers’ compensation need to be very simple and very precise.”

Mr Achurch said his organisation conducted a survey last year of small business owners’ understanding of workers’ compensation regulations and legislation.

“The response to that survey brought to the fore the need for more education and simpler forms,” he said.

“The problem that will always arise is how to get to the majority of small businesses.

“The WorkSafe ads featuring Glen Jakovich don’t seem to have registered with most small business owners.”

WA Labour Relations Minister John Kobelke said the program encouraged both employers and employees to take responsibility for safety in the workplace.

“For any safety program to work effectively there has to be a commitment for all sections of an organisation, no matter how small or large the operation,” he said.

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