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The safety industry has come a long way in recent decades. Yet, workplace fatalities and serious injuries still occur. In 2020, 194 fatalities occurred in Australia and there were 120,355 serious claims that resulted in at least one week’s absence from work.1 In the same time period, there were 67 fatalities in New Zealand2 and 31,722 injuries resulting in more than a week away from work.3 These statistics paint a sombre picture and beg the question, with so many organisations purportedly improving their safety performance—especially around lag measures like incidents and injuries—why are individuals still being harmed at work?

There’s a strong case to suggest that failure and ineffectiveness of critical controls, alongside deep-seated safety culture issues like underreporting play a role in the continuance of serious injuries and fatalities in the workplace. But what does this all mean, and where do businesses start to make a positive change in helping more workers return home safe, each and every day?

In this white paper, we explore the concept of critical control assurance and the role it plays in driving positive safety outcomes.

Overview

Part 1: The Critical Link Between Risk, Reporting and SIF Potential

  • What is Critical Control Assurance?
  • Critical Control Assurance as a Key Component of Mature Safety Cultures
  • Shifting the Focus of Safety
  • Critical Control Assurance and Safety Culture

Part 2: Practical Steps to Unlocking Critical Control Assurance

  • The Importance of Attitude
  • Managing Risks That Aren’t ‘Critical’
  • Underreporting and SIF Prevention
  • Creating a Learning Culture

Part 3: A Framework to Support Leaders

  • Pre-start meetings
  • Critical control verification
  • The Role of Executive Leadership and Governance Frameworks

Part 4: Making the Shift: Preparing Your Organisation for Change

  • Creating a strong internal motivation for change
  • Providing the skills required to support change
  • Sustaining focus on positive change

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First published 2022.

  1. Safe Work Australia. (2021). Key work health and safety statistics Australia 2021. Retrieved from: https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/resources-and-publications/statistical-reports/key-work-health-and-safety-statistics-australia-2021
  2. Worksafe. (2022). Fatalities. Retrieved from: https://data.worksafe.govt.nz/graph/summary/fatalities
  3. Worksafe. (2022). Injuries resulting in more than a week away from work. Retrieved from: https://data.worksafe.govt.nz/graph/summary/injuries_week_away

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