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Small business health and safety strategy planned

Second phase of project focussing on improving business health and safety in Latrobe City was developed last Thursday at the City offices in Traralgon.

By Latrobe City Council - 4th April 2001 - Back to News

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The second phase of a small business project focussing on improving business health and safety in Latrobe City was developed at a meeting last Thursday at the City offices in Traralgon, facilitated by Dr Lesley Day of Monash University.

Community Safety Planner with Latrobe City, Henk Harberts, said the twenty-two participants heard from a range of speakers and worked in groups on the development strategy.

“The combined Latrobe City and WorkCover funded program is designed to expand on the work commenced last year and pursue a commitment to improve the safety of all citizens and visitors to the City,” Mr Harberts said.

“An initial one-year project was conducted by Latrobe City’s Community Safety Unit during 2000. The program developed an innovative buddy system so that small business operators would be matched with a buddy from large business to assist them with workplace safety issues,” Mr Harberts explained.

“This second phase planning day came about as a result of the findings from that first project. We asked ourselves what the community considered to be the important health and safety issues affecting health and safety in small business, and identified ways of dealing with safety issues based on data and experiences,” Mr Harberts said.

“There are an incredible number of claims against employers in the workplace, and of course for there to have been a Workcover claim, injury, pain and trauma will have been experienced by victims and frequently their families. Many incidents would have been avoided by employers acknowledging that health and safety awareness needs to be part of the strategy of all businesses, small and large, wishing to ensure their long term sustainability.

“This meeting identified high risk activities in small business and identified appropriate interventions, and discussed how barriers can be overcome that stand in the way of productive communication and the adoption of safe practices,” Mr Harberts said.

“One of the speakers, Monash Professor Tore Larsson, described ‘Operation Safety’ which focused on community health and safety improvements as the result of a program operating in Ballarat in 1996. This sort of sharing of information is a valuable means of networking ideas that can be used to produce solutions,” Mr Harberts added.

Representatives from Latrobe City Council, local business, Chambers of Commerce, Gippsland’s Occupational Health and Safety Network, Insurance companies, the Victorian WorkCover Authority, Victoria University Small Business Research Unit and Monash University Accident Research Centre at Clayton attended the meeting.

Mr Harberts said that the Victorian Workcover Authority was committed to assisting Latrobe City and local businesses improve the health and safety of their workforce, highlighting the benefits in promoting prevention of workplace and community accidents and injury.

Any Latrobe City workplace or business interested in participating in this innovative program is asked to contact Henk Harberts, Community Safety Promotion at Latrobe City on 5173 1506.


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