Blog

The Importance of Trust: Building an Adaptable Health & Safety Management System

In previous blogs from Verus, we have discussed the process of bringing our workers back into our pre COVID workplaces and how risk management and planning are paramount, as well as confirming that workplace conditions are safe for our workers to return to. We have discussed the importance of assessing our monitoring programs and ensuring such programs reflect the changes to workplace conditions b...
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The Road Back... Returning to Workplaces

As we slowly immerge from our ‘Corona Coma’ it’s time to start thinking about preparing workplaces for employees to begin a ‘new normal’ in a safe and organised way.  Remember, employers have a legal responsibility to identify and manage workplace risk exposures; and this is no different for COVID-19.  Adapting to the ‘new normal’ will require our people to adjust quickly to th...
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Monitoring Health & Safety in a COVID19 World

Set and forget. An attitude that is all too common across workplaces when it comes to managing health and safety and one that too often results in a serious workplace incident.  Safety professionals have regularly seen the negative consequences of someone setting and forgetting.  Whether it’s a workplace lacking in supervision for new employees or a new item of plant that is expecte...
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Maintaining Workplace Cultures across Remote Workplaces

When we contact our clients, we often get feedback about how we, Verus, are very consistent in our approach, our findings, delivery and professionalism. I put this down to our culture. Workplace culture is all about patterns of behaviours, interactions, rules (both written and unwritten), and the ways people either live up to or ignore the values and beliefs they embrace. It was formed by how my p...
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It's time for Frontline Managers to Shine

Two Hundred and Forty Million – That’s how many results Google returns for a “Working from Home during COVID19” search. Without reading each and every one, it’s probably a fair assumption that the internet has the ‘Ergonomic Set Up of a Home Workstation’ covered.  Which is a good thing, because with an estimated 30% of the workforce now working from home, there are going to be lots of pe...
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Our New Way of Working from Home

With the unprecedented changes we have all been forced to make to the way we live our lives for the unforeseeable future to control the spread of COVID-19, life as we knew it will never be the same.  The restrictions have forced business owners to make the toughest decisions they have ever, and will ever, have to make.  Millions of our fellow Australians have either lost their ...
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Hazardous Chemicals & the GHS: Compliance Requirements

Whilst WHS and OHS/DG jurisdictions typically outline similar requirements when it comes to managing hazardous chemicals, there are a number of key differences that organisations need to be aware of to ensure they comply with specific legal obligations.  The introduction of the model WHS laws provided a framework across the majority of Australia. Whilst the consistency across most jurisdictio...
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Hazardous Chemicals & the GHS: Chemical Storage

Most organisations understand, that at the very least, controls are needed when using hazardous chemicals, but forget that chemicals in storage can be just, if not more dangerous. Whilst handling related hazards are typically more likely to occur, due to chemicals being handled, decanted, used, mixed or diluted, in most cases the quantities involved are generally smaller that the amounts...
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Hazardous Chemicals & the GHS: Safety Data Sheets

Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) can provide a huge amount of valuable information, but on their own, don't outline how to safely use a chemical in your workplace.   Whilst an SDS outlines a range of chemical properties and general safety information, the generic information documented in an SDS is just that, generic. Too often organisations rely on this generic instruction to guide workers on safe ...
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Hazardous Chemicals & the GHS: An Introduction

Ironically, the (deep breath) Global Harmonised System (GHS) of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals was meant to make things easier, but for some, the management of hazardous chemicals seemed to get more complex with its introduction. The previous management regime was already complex enough, requiring organisations that use hazardous chemicals to interpret a complex array of information fro...
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Safety Audits: Don't Hide or Conceal Evidence

Everyone likes getting a 'good' result from their Safety Audit. If executed well a good result from a Safety Audit can give a measure of comfort that people aren't being exposed to unnecessary risks and are well protected against injury and illness. For some it can also mean that new markets or industries are accessible with a new, or continuing, certification. For others it can provide affir...
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Safety Audits: Don't Double Dip

Has there been a more famous food safety message than Seinfeld's 'Double Dip' episode?  Perhaps not, but that same message can also apply to Safety Audits. I'm not talking about food hygiene but how the outcomes and findings from your safety audits are employed to best support you and the auditee. There's limited value in issuing two non-conformances for the same poor performance without prop...
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Safety Audits: Take a Risk Based Approach

Spending time on the things that really matter is a challenge for nearly everyone in today's fast paced society. In our haste to get things done we often focus on the things we can get repeatedly done quickly, and easily, with what's left over sometimes getting only cursory attention in the time that remains. It's easy to adopt a similar approach during a Safety Audit, especially when they are oft...
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Safety Audits: Understand the Audit Standard & Criterion

Failing to read and understand the fine print in contracts or conditions has left many people high and dry. The same can happen when the finer detail in Audit Standards and their criterion aren't properly understood. Whilst Audit Standards don't deliberately try and conceal their requirements (like the fine print in some contracts!) they aren't always written with the general populace in mind and ...
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Safety Audits: Understand the Reason for your Audit

Have you ever been asked to do something without knowing the reason for it? No doubt we all have. For simple tasks, minimal understanding of why something needs doing, probably won't impact on your ability to complete it successfully. But for more complex tasks, understanding the 'Why', can often be critical to preparing for and then achieving what was intended. And Safety Audits are far from simp...
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Safety Audits: How to Choose the Right Auditor

Would you let someone without a driver's licence borrow your car? People without medical training prescribe you medication? Or let someone decide on risk controls who didn't have training in health and safety? For most of you the answer is a definitive "No". In fact, we use and rely on trained, qualified and experienced people every day in our private and professional lives. Think about who operat...
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Make Sure there is an Audit Plan

 A pilot will always develop a Flight Plan to describe their proposed aircraft flight prior to taking off. It includes two safety critical aspects: fuel calculation to ensure the aircraft will safely reach its destination and specific information for air traffic control to minimise the risk of a mid-air collision.This process helps the pilot to plan a successful flight minimising the risk of ...
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Safety Audits: Give Your Auditor Time to Prepare

We can all remember being asked to attend a meeting or facilitate a workshop at the last minute, with limited or no time to prepare. The thought of having to 'wing it' is awful and, unsurprisingly, most of us avoid it wherever possible. This isn't dissimilar to how an Auditor feels if they're not given enough time before the audit to prepare. Poor preparation may mean the audit results are not rep...
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Safety Audits. Are your Records and Documentation ready and accessible?

You can have the best Safety Culture and safety practices in the world, but if you don't get your documentation right or provide access to records, the audit is going to be an uphill battle. Safety Audits are about evaluating if your health and safety management system is doing what its supposed to do. To do this Safety Auditors need evidence, sourced from visual observations, interviews with mana...
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Safety Audits: Make Sure Your System is Ready

You've spent countless hours writing and developing your health and safety management system, so isn't it time to find out just how good it is? Isn't it time to get that Self Insurance licence or AS4801 accreditation that the System was designed for? Why wait when I could get a Safety Audit done now and move onto something else? But wait you must. By design, Safety Audits check performance at a mo...
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