Safety in mining is a daily, if not hourly, focus for all of us who work in the resources sector. Today, April 28, has a particularly special significance however, as it is World Day for Safety and Health at Work.
Today we are asked to reflect on the injuries and fatalities that have occurred in, or because of, the workplace, and to actively take steps to promote safer work practices.
I am so glad to be a part of an industry that invests heavily in workplace safety, but the statistics show just how much work is still to be done, both within our resources sector, and in the wider business community.
Safe Work Australia tells us that in the 13 years from 2003 to 2015, 3,207 workers lost their lives in work-related incidents. In 2015, almost half of worker fatalities occurred within the transport, postal, warehousing, agricultural, forestry and fishing industries. Approximately 5% of fatalities took place in the mining industry.
I've always assumed the policies and procedures we're so used to in the mining industry would be common practice in every industry, but clearly there is more work to be done. Is there a place then, for our comprehensive and systematic mining WHS procedures to be replicated in those areas listed above? What if the transport industry and warehousing industry adopted our WHS policies for a year - would we see their fatality numbers decline?
I am so thankful to work in a team that looks out for one another, that reports any risks and hazards immediately, and that advocates regular training with all its staff. I have no doubt considerable expense goes into this practice, but you just need to look at the likes of the postal and warehousing industries to see the costs of not implementing rigid safety practices. There is no greater cost than human life.
Everyone is responsible for safety in the workplace, so today, and in the coming days and weeks, it's time to start implementing teasy actions to make a difference. Here's some tips from both myself and Safe Work Australia:
- Practice good work health and safety habits
- Honour the memory of those who have died at work - stop for a moment of silence
- Hashtag #worldWHSday2017 on social media to raise awareness
- Arrange for a workplace safety expert to speak at your workplace