Your boss might well thank you if you tell them where to go to find safety problems in the workplace. While raising safety concerns can be a daunting prospect, not doing so might mean a potentially dangerous issue remains unresolved.
It could be something like worn steps on your cabin, dangerous movement of forklifts or poor housekeeping posing slip, trip and fall hazards. Or perhaps you feel that your training for a particular task was inadequate or you need more help to do it safely.
But whatever the issue, it is important to remember that every worker has a right to work in safe places and, while it is an employer’s duty to keep you safe, you are also required to do your bit. So if you think there is a health and safety problem in your workplace, it is critical that you do something about it before it is too late and an incident that could have been prevented takes place.
In most workplaces, your first port of call would be flagging a safety concern with a supervisor, health and safety or union representative, rather than the actual employer. You might feel intimidated or awkward, but the few minutes it takes to talk and hopefully find a solution is nothing compared to the impact of an injury.
When talking to a boss about safety:
- Ask how a health and safety issue should be raised as the boss may have a hazard reporting procedure in place
- try to sound positive and speak out of concern for you and your co-workers’ safety
- be polite and respectful
- avoid confrontational words
- try not to put the boss on the spot
- don’t blame co-workers
- keep your body language in check – for example, don’t cross your arms or point your finger
- if possible, suggest a potential solution for the problem you have raised.
Remember, employers need to know about workplace hazards or unsafe activity and have a duty to address these, even if a solution means a fix in terms of equipment, extra staff or training.
Your boss may end up thanking you as a safer workplace generally means one with higher worker morale and productivity, plus workers will be happier knowing the boss is watching their backs so they can go home safe to loved ones every day.
Get some more tips and advice at workcover.nsw.gov.au or call us on 13 10 50.