Take a moment for safety
The AITC is recognising National Safe Work Week this October with four weekly themes to span the month. The first theme is Safe Choices and Behaviours. The College’s Workplace Health and Safety Coordinator, Jess Mangan, describes safe choices as taking a moment before you complete a task to consider how you might complete it safely.
“A safe choice is giving yourself time, a moment, before starting a task to consider if the way you were planning to complete it is the safest way. Taking a moment to consider the task, the risks involved, and choosing the way to move forward is the opportunity to make a safe choice. The choice you make should be the one that ensures you are safe,” says Jess.
“We are always faced with lots of choices when undertaking a task. We often have to consider deadlines, the easiest or fastest way to complete a task, but we still have the choice to complete it in a safe way.” At the AITC, we have a particularly strong focus on safety, as our young people are not only on campus, but are also out in industry working for around half the year.
“We always want our young people to know that if they ever have safety concerns, on campus or out in industry, that they have the choice to not complete a task that is not safe. We encourage them to feel comfortable saying no to an unsafe task, and talk to their employer or contact the College. They will always have our support when choosing not to undertake an unsafe task,” says Jess.
Workplace health and safety (WHS) is important for every school, however has additional layers at the AITC, as our young people spend a significant time in industry. Workplace risks will vary based on the industry, so the College has a tried and tested system to ensure every young person entering a workplace is safe.
When a work placement has been confirmed, industry consultants will contact the employer prior to the young person starting work. College staff will use digital platform Connect to conduct a comprehensive risk assessment with the employer, which will involve examining the workplace as well as WHS policies and procedures. If the assessment is not passed, the young person will not commence work experience until the employer can meet the criteria.
“Sometimes the workplaces who don’t pass are small businesses or sole traders who simply don’t have the resources to put WHS policies and plans in place,” says Jess. “When this is the case, we will work with the employer to create the policies and procedures they need keep their employees safe. In different cases, the employers may need to make physical changes or repairs before the young person can commence work placement.”
“We ask our young people to ensure safety is their first thought when in industry or otherwise, and as College staff, we need to live by the value of safety as well,” says Jess. “It’s my goal that by the end of October, everyone in the AITC community is feeling more knowledgeable in WHS practices, and more confident in making safe choices.”