Eighty-one percent of small Australian businesses are struggling to get a handle on their workplace safety obligations, according to research released this week by Employsure.
The Employsure Workplace Safety Index reveals that only half of small businesses are confident they meet their obligations across all areas of workplace safety, with businesses struggling to keep pace with the changes and paperwork required.
The research, which was conducted in August by Galaxy Research, surveyed 400 Australian small businesses owners and managers who employ at least two employees.
According to the index, the top five safety issues Australian small businesses face are:
- the complexity of the rules;
- constant changing of the rules;
- the amount of paperwork;
- the time required for compliance; and
- staff being careless.
Employsure managing director Ed Mallet said in a statement that while business owners are keen to do the right thing, “we hear from them daily that they feel crippled by the complexity of what they are required to do”.
“They are swamped and struggling to keep their head above water,” he said.
The index shows that only one in five small businesses feel confident in implementing their workplace safety plan; only 46% have a clear understanding of how to manage and address bullying; and less than 60% know their responsibilities in the event of an employee getting injured.
When it comes to seeking assistance, over one third stated that they go to Google for the answers.
“With about five million Australians employed by small businesses, it’s so important that we get safety right and minimise the complexities and drain that compliance creates to keep workplaces safe,” Mallet said.
“This isn’t just a workplace issue, this is a national issue.”