We’ve all heard it. “In my day workplace safety came down to common sense!”
Sometimes it’s worth stopping to ask the speaker to define common sense.
For example, a backpacker, with no farm experience, is told to drive a half-million-dollar machine with little or no instruction. If he cocks it up, is it merely a lack of does he lack common sense?
What about if a worker is expected to operate equipment that’s faulty or dangerous? If there’s a failure in that equipment, does it mean the worker had no common sense?
What’s NOT Common Sense
It’s NOT common sense is for a business owner to play Russian Roulette with today’s workplace safety laws.
Hefty fines, shattered reputations, stress and worry, are experienced every day by business owners who thought workplace safety was just common sense. Of course, even these consequences are small up against the torture of living with the severe injury or death of a worker?
Old School Workplace Safety was Less Compulsory
There was a time when workplace safety was less structured, less compulsory, but it’s different these days.
The laws that now govern the workplace, and everyone in it, are far more stringent than in the “old school” and whether you agree with them or not they ARE in place, and the law WILL have its way regardless of what you think about it.
It’s far more common than ever before for businesses to face court for failure to provide adequate safety systems.
There is no shortage of law firms skilled at finding holes in workplace safety systems. They’ll gladly take on cases nowadays they probably would never have touched in the “Old School”.
The business owner has never before faced the complex workplace safety laws that dictate almost every task in a business operation today.
Every Time A Worker Goes On Job There’s A Risk To Both Worker AND Business
Every time a worker is sent to complete a job, there’s a risk not just to the worker, but to the business itself.
Many businesses are losing in court because an accident occurred and they could not prove they had adequate measures in place. Risk assessments, safe operating procedures, SWMS, workplace training, audits, service and maintenance are all par for the course today. Yes, there’s a law for all of them!
It’s so easy to make a comparison between the “old school” business operation and today. However, it’s impossible to compare the two without considering the presence of today’s workplace safety laws.
It Doesn’t Need To Be That Hard
The sad thing about the many businesses that are suffering because of safety laws is that it didn’t need to be that hard!
It can be easy and cost effective to create and maintain good health and safety systems. You can better ensure that every worker goes home unharmed every night. Additionally, it can be simple to prove you did everything in your power to make that happen.