Australia: new app to report unsafe work practices
Thursday 17th October 2019
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The new mobile reporting system, 'Speak Up. Save Lives,' enables people who see workplace risks to send photos straight to the regulator.
The app, which will be available to download for free in app stores from 2020, will allow workers to send up to three photos showing unsafe practices or high-risk situations to SafeWork NSW. It also features a GPS locator to negate the need to know their exact location. If the user gives their contact details, a receipt of the concern lodged will be sent to them via email or text. Reports can also be made anonymously.
"Safety is everyone's responsibility, and everyone should feel confident they can report unsafe conditions," said Kevin Anderson, minister for better regulation and innovation. "This new tool provides another way for workers to notify SafeWork NSW of a safety concern which may impact their own wellbeing and that of their work mates."
Anderson clarified that the new app is not replacing the existing need for workers to report unsafe work practices to employers or to SafeWork NSW. Businesses will still be required to report all notifiable incidents, including death, serious injury or illness, or a dangerous incident, by calling 13 10 50 immediately.
Responding to a enquiry from IOSH Magazine on whether the UK's regulator will follow suit, a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) spokesperson said: "The HSE has a dedicated team whose job it is to consider new innovations to help us evolve how we regulate workplace health and safety, today and beyond. For example, our Discovering Safety programme is looking at using information to create new approaches to solving difficult health and safety problems. We monitor developments around the world."
The HSE’s ability to bring prosecutions to a successful conclusion saw a noticeable downturn in 2018/19, as the total number of cases that resulted in a verdict – whether conviction or acquittal – dropped 23% from 509 in 2017/18 to just 393. That is one of a range of insights in the regulator’s annual statistical release, published last week (30 October).