81% of Small Businesses Don’t Understand Workplace Safety

A staggering 81 per cent of Australian small businesses don’t fully understand their workplace health and safety obligations.

October is safe work month, providing the perfect opportunity to assess your workplace safety performance. And it couldn’t come any sooner for Australian small businesses. That’s because a new study from Employsure found an alarming number are falling well short of their legal obligations.

The data found that 81 per cent of Australian small businesses don’t fully understand their workplace safety obligations, with only half claiming they meet their obligations across all areas of workplace safety. Only 20 per cent feel confident implementing a workplace safety plan, and less than 60 per cent understand what to do if an employee gets injured. shutterstock_109182860

And they don’t know even know where to turn for help. Over a third of respondents admitted to relying on Google for their health and safety concerns. Employsure managing director Ed Mallet said small businesses want to do the right thing but are “crippled by the complexity of what they are required to do.”

“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. They want to do more, but often don’t know how.”

The index also revealed the top 5 safety issues facing small businesses:

• The complexity of the rules
• Constant changing of the rules
• The amount of paperwork
• The time required for compliance
• Staff being careless

“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’ understanding and confidence in planning, managing and implementing their workplace health and safety obligations.

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