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Safety program can help small business

Latrobe City, in collaboration with the Victorian WorkCover Authority has developed and implemented a safety program for small businesses in the region

By Latrobe City Council - 6th June 2002 - Back to News

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Latrobe City, in collaboration with the Victorian WorkCover Authority has developed and implemented a safety program for small businesses in the region. In Latrobe City, 93% of all employees work in small businesses – businesses that employ fewer than twenty people.

Latrobe City Project Officer, Brian Vennard, said he was visiting local small businesses as part of the safety program and invited owners and managers to participate.

"This involves, in the first instant, self-assessing the workplace by simply ticking the appropriate answer to a series of questions on a form provided. This may be done independently or with my help," Mr Vennard said.

"The completed self-assessment is forwarded to an OH&S specialist adviser, who is commissioned by WorkCover to visit the small business and provide assistance in improving and implementing safety solutions arising from the self-assessment. The first three hours of the visit is fully subsidised and at no cost to the business," Mr Vennard added.

Mr Vennard said that work-related injury or illness costs Victorians millions of dollars every year and small business workplaces had a higher incidence of insurance claims and injury rates than their counterparts in large industry. "Clearly, businesses in this area need assistance to develop their safety programs to protect both the employees and owners," Mr Vennard said.

"This program is designed to assist small businesses assess and minimise the risks of injury in their workplaces and the insurance claims that may eventuate as a consequence of this risk," Mr Vennard explained.

Mr Vennard said there were a number of misconceptions regarding safety in the workplace. "Many owners or operators mistakenly believe that improving workplace safety is expensive, time consuming and complicated, or that safety issues and regulations do not apply to single operators. All of this is untrue," Mr Vennard said.

"The reality is that prevention and knowledge reduces the risks of workplace accidents and improvements need not be expensive or complicated. Sometimes it only involves different placement or changes to working methods," Mr Vennard stressed.

Latrobe City Mayor, Councillor Brendan Jenkins, said Latrobe was a demonstration site for the World Health Organisation ‘Safe Community’’, and had a commitment to make safety a priority for residents and visitors. "This commitment has now been taken a step further with the development of this program," Cr Jenkins said

"We urge small business owners to take advantage of the specialist advice being offered by participating in the safety program.

"Small business owners and operators can contact a range of local business operators who have already undertaken this process and be assured of the benefits," Cr Jenkins said.

Further information on the safety program for small businesses can be obtained from Brian Vennard or Henk Harberts at Latrobe City Council, telephone 1300 367 700.


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