Being able to look after staff members and contractors can be a big part of the duties of some businesses, with larger companies often dedicating entire departments to the issue of employee health and safety.
However, establishing the safeguards and procedures to look after workers and ensure they return home safe at the end of the day can be an expensive endeavour, especially for small to medium enterprises (SME) that may lack the capital needed to match the resources in place at bigger firms.
These measures can be crucial in avoiding expensive insurance premiums after an incident – with even small articles such as back injury claims having the power to increase these rates outside of what some firms would consider affordable.
This is the reasoning behind a recent move by WorkCover New South Wales to give SMEs access to funding to help them implement improvements in safety management.
Launched on March 1, the Small Business Rebate Program is offering managers at small businesses and sole traders the opportunity to gain rebates of up to $500 on purchases and installation expenses that relate to workplace risk management.
The general manager of the Work Health and Safety division at WorkCover NSW, John Watson, has explained that many small business owners understood that keeping their employees safe was a key point in ensuring productivity.
Watson asserted: "The Small Business Rebate Program will help more NSW small businesses implement safety improvements, leading to safer workplaces and reductions in injury and illness rates across the state.
"The Program covers a broad range of safety solutions, providing small businesses with the flexibility to fix specific risks in their workplaces while focusing on solutions to the most common risks in NSW workplaces – manual handling, slips, trips and falls, injuries from moving objects, chemical and hazardous goods and hazardous noise."
The general manager went on to say that WorkCover understood that some smaller businesses had been enduring tough times due to fluctuations and instability in a number of markets and that the department was moving to provide assistance.
"WorkCover recognises that finding money for safety improvements can be a challenge.
"Thanks to the Small Business Rebate Program more NSW small businesses will be better able to improve safety, resulting in more workers returning home safely at the end of the working day."