Safe work systems in the workplace
It is important to implement systems to ensure your staff's safety in the workplace. This includes procedures for staff working early and leaving late and for staff working at night, alone or in isolation, who are exposed to a higher safety risk. You will also need to implement safe practices for staff who travel, telecommute from home, or work away from the office.
Working early and leaving late
If you or your employees usually work early or leave late, follow these suggestions:
Before entering the workplace
- Park in a populated well-lit area as close as possible to your workplace.
- Look for anyone loitering in the vicinity.
- Check for signs of forced entry attempts. If you're unsure that your workplace is safe, contact police immediately. Do not enter the premises.
Before leaving the workplace
- Advise someone that you are working late. Let them know what time you expect to be home.
- Take a note of anyone loitering outside the workplace.
- If suspicious, use alarm systems if available, otherwise contact the police.
Working alone, at night or in isolation
Working alone, at night or remotely, increases the risk of any job. The following factors should be considered when assessing the risks:
- Implement specific procedures for staff working alone — for example, establishing regular contact via phone or radio.
- Include appropriate behaviour about working alone in your code of conduct.
- Provide staff with a monitored personal duress alarm.
- Provide a safe retreat or secure location.
- Provide security services where appropriate (e.g. random patrols, a security officer at the end of the shift or during the whole shift).
Consider implementing a business travel plan, including:
- adequate communication systems (i.e. mobile phones and email)
- an itinerary accessible to other staff
- optimal times for travel to avoid possible safety risks
- maintaining health while travelling (i.e. during air travel).
Lighting, ventilation, wiring and desk installations for remote workers must meet safe work requirements. Remote workers should also work in a safe way (i.e. not be distracted by interferences and take regular breaks).
To ensure the safety of remote workers:
- implement a remote worker policy
- give a risk assessment questionnaire to the worker to complete
- visit the worker's home and carry out a risk assessment.
Harassment can involve physical contact, verbal comments and non-verbal actions such as offensive gestures and inappropriate emailing. Staff can be both psychologically and physically affected by workplace harassment.
To ensure staff are aware of appropriate behaviour in the workplace:
- include information in your induction training for new or returning staff
- provide workplace harassment and anti-discrimination training for all staff
- include business conduct standards in your code of conduct.
- Find out about industry codes of conduct.
- Read the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.
- Learn more about telecommuting and other types of working arrangements.
- Find out more about premises security and crime prevention.