Small businesses to team up with WorkCover

Date: Sep 05, 2011

Small to medium-enterprises across the state of New South Wales are being given access to professional safety mentoring as part of WorkCover's Safe Business is Good Business program.

The initiative pairs up small firms with larger enterprises in an effort to promote safety in all aspects of employment.

Visits to worksites, forward planning sessions and even policy workshops are held as part of the program, with over 300 enterprises getting involved since it all began in 2006.

This year, 36 small businesses received mentoring from experienced volunteers, gaining valuable advice on reducing risk and increasing awareness amongst employees about the importance of workplace safety.

Now in its sixth year, WorkCover NSW's chief executive officer Lisa Hunt said that the Safe Business is Good Business program allowed numerous small firms to learn directly from the experience of larger employers on how to make sustainable advancements in their workplace safety practices.

Hunt asserted: "A robust workplace safety culture makes good business sense and this program enables smaller businesses to better understand their obligations and learn about how to identify risks that are specific to their business.

"This program has a strong influence on changing safety behaviour, with 95 per cent of businesses in the 2010 program reporting they had made immediate safety improvements in their workplace."

According to one contributor, the usefulness of the initiative thoroughly depends on the willingness of a company to actively promote safety to its staff.

Owen Bladen – a business owner in the traffic management sector – had previously received mentoring at the program. This year, he decided it was time to give back by offering his services to small firms who wanted to improve safety protocols.

"I wanted to learn more about how to improve my business and the experience completely altered my perspective on workplace safety," said Bladen.

Commenting on why he decided to change roles from mentee to mentor, he asserted: "I wanted to share what I had learnt with other businesses and my industry peers."

The number of workplaces participating in this program is encouraging, with many employers taking into account the potentially serious consequences of workplace accidents.

If an employee is injured as a result of carrying out their duties, a compensation lawyer can assist them in gaining access to restitution.

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