Small business workplaces an accident waiting to happen

Workplace health and safety

Research released yesterday has revealed that 81 per cent of Australian small businesses don’t fully understand their workplace safety obligations.

The Employsure Workplace Safety Index also found that only half are confident that they meet their obligations across all areas of workplace safety. The research further revealed that small business finds it too complex and time consuming to keep up with the changes and paper work required.

Employsure say Safe Work Month this October is a prime time to address safety across Australian workplaces. The Index highlights the top five safety issues facing small business as the complexity of the rules, constant changing of the rules, amount of paperwork, time required for compliance and staff being careless.

Employsure’s Managing Director, Ed Mallet, says, “Small-business owners want to do the right thing but we hear from them daily that they feel crippled by the complexity of what they are required to do. They are swamped and struggling to keep their head above water.”

Only one in five small businesses feel confident enough to implement their workplace safety plan, while only 46 per cent have a clear understanding of how to manage and address bullying. Also concerning is that less than 60 per cent know their responsibilities should an employee get injured.

“Our research found that small businesses want to improve their workplace safety, particularly around improved documentation, managing bullying, training staff and responding to an injury,” Mallet says. “They want to do more, but often don’t know how. Small-business employers don’t know where to go to find help with over one third admitting they rely on Google for the answers.

“With about five million Australians employed by small businesses, it’s so important that we get safety right and minimise the complexities and drain that compliance creates to keep workplaces safe. This isn’t just a workplace issue, this is a national issue.”

The Employsure Workplace Safety Index was conducted in August 2017 by Galaxy Research to track Australian small business’s understanding and confidence in planning, managing and implementing their workplace health and safety obligations.