Have you got one, an OHS & W policy

You are a small lighting/audio company, and you, besides providing PA’s and lights you also do installations in schools and other venues around town. Now often the case when schools and venue contract a company they ask for a certificate of currency on the public liability insurance. This is to make sure that they are covered just in case something horribly goes wrong. There is only one thing that is wrong with this, all it does is prove that is your install etc causes damage, falls on someone etc the insurance company is going to pay someone big dollars eventually. It does not prove that you have safe work practises in place. So it really does puzzle me when companies that I work for are asked for this certificate. Even venues hiring out their building sometimes ask for this. This is not really helping the process of having a safe work process in place. The question that should be asked can me see your OHS policy, your job safety analysis of the tasks you are going to undertake, in particular to installs, and also some risk assessment documentation if you are putting on an event.

The reason behind my thought process is that is you have undertaken a decent risk assessment and job safety analysis it proves that you have thought through the process of the tasks you are hoping to undertake. The simple task of thinking through the job can cause you to look at better systems and procedures. Safety should always be paramount in all tasks that you undertake. A document from your insurance company proves nothing. If you were to come into a venue where I was working with only the insurance paperwork, I would laugh and ask you to go away and come back with something better and more useful. I am sorry but if we are contracting you to perform certain tasks, we expect you to be a responsible and safe company. We expect you to do the right thing by the law and best practise is the way to comply. So if I were one of these types of companies I would make sure that your are up to date with your OH & S paperwork, there are plenty of people and organisations out there to help you put something together.

Having a policy and all of the other paperwork is not all that you need to think about. You actually need to undertake the tasks in a safe manner. You need to follow your own guidelines. You need to train yourself and your staff to undertake tasks safely, how to report problems without feeling they are doing wrong, and intergrating OHS princilpes into all of the tasks that they undertake.

This might be a daunting task, but the benefits will outweigh the initial costs and in the long run could save you a bucket load of cash.

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