Who has the time for safety inductions?
Updated: Apr 2, 2019
Imagine, if you will, that you are one of the many employers out there who does not currently conduct a safety induction for each new employee. You have just hired a fresh faced 17-year-old, Alex, into your not-entirely-risk-free organisation...
Alex on his first day has been asked to carry out a not-entirely-risk-free task not only without an induction but also without supervision. Alex slips, falls and generally does himself some damage during the day. An ambulance is called and as a result so is WHS QLD, and they want to see your records … your day is starting to go downhill.
To make matters worse Alex’s mum is a producer on the 7.30 Report and you are now being asked some particularly pointed question by Leigh Sales relating to how a young, inexperienced, unattended young man with such promise is now in hospital because a heartless employer didn’t see it as necessary to conduct a proper induction.
Now while this is obviously farfetched, it is altogether too common for an employer to not safely and promptly induct an employee into their organisation.
Many see it as something they will get to down the track once they know a person will stick around but, at the end of the day, injuries can happen at any time and safety inductions are a great option to help reduce them.
So apart from the obvious safety benefits and generally avoiding a news expose’ why else would you do an induction?
It is backed up by the law. Your obligation to provide a safe place of work to your employees and contractors is, with much paraphrasing, the most important take away point from the WHS Act 2011.
It builds your safety culture. A thorough safety induction sets the tone for a new employee from the start it outlines what your organisation values and lets your employees know what they are accountable for.
It is your first opportunity to consult with your new workers about safety. As all of you who read the WHS Act page and verse would understand, consultation on safety matters is paramount. Your induction is the first opportunity you will get to begin the safety conversation with your new employee, helping them understand that safety is everyone’s business and that you will listen to their thoughts on safety.
It mitigates your risk. In the event of something awful happening and you company being investigated, you will be asked if the employee has undertaken a safety induction. You will also be asked if they have been adequately trained to perform their roles correctly and are aware of the known risks and controls. Your ability to hand on heart say ‘yes’ should be backed up with the appropriate paperwork outlines that you take your obligations toward safety seriously and have been responsible so far as reasonably practicable.
So if the thought of Leigh Sales is not enough to scare you into performing inductions then hopefully the points above instead show the benefits that an induction can have for your business. They are a process that is easy to implement and replicable once done and when done correctly will improve the safety of your people and develop your workplace culture.