Safety footwear needs more safety research

Safety footwear is a standard item of personal protective equipment (PPE) in many workplaces but it can be contentious.

safety boots

The need for safety footwear

Some years ago I was asked to assess the need for safety footwear in a large manufacturing site.  The need was obvious, there was a lot of manual handling of cumbersome objects and the factory was old so the design and layout was based on the lifting and moving of objects rather than a flow of production.

The company wanted this need verified as one of the office staff, clearly of some influence, would enter the factory in high heels and refused to wear safety footwear.  This was a clear breach of the company’s safety policies and was causing unrest in the factory.  The safety solution was clear

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A new option for avoiding OHS obligations

cover of Deferred-Prosecution-Agreements-Discussion-PaperA major motivation for occupational health and safety (OHS) improvements in many businesses is the potential damage to a company’s reputation if someone is injured or killed from the company’s operations.  Usually such an event would result in a prosecution by an OHS regulator but prosecution rates are variable and there are an increasing range of options and mechanisms, such as enforceable undertakings, available to companies in order to avoid a prosecution or financial penalty.

A new prosecution option has recently gained the attention of the Australian Government and one with which OHS professionals should become familiar as it could spread into their field of operations.

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