Workplace accidents and injuries are a common occurrence in Australia. According to a 2021 report, there were 120,355 claims of work-related injuries and incidents between 2019 and 2020. The median compensation for each claim was $13,500, putting many Australian workers and businesses under significant financial strain. Accidents not only lead to expensive medical bills and business disruption, but more serious cases can result in death.
That’s why it’s crucial for businesses to have effective systems and processes in place to minimise the risk of workplace accidents and injuries. One such system is the use of work orders.
Work orders are documents that outline specific tasks to be completed on a jobsite, along with instructions for how those tasks should be performed. When it comes to health and safety, work orders are invaluable for improving workplace safety and complying with industry regulations. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how work orders can achieve these outcomes.
A work order’s role in improving job health and safety
Many workplace accidents and injuries occur when employees perform tasks incorrectly. For instance, some technicians may be overexerting themselves by carrying heavy loads. Others may forget to clean up spills or install proper signage warning others of potential hazards. With work orders, you can instruct on-site technicians exactly how a task should be carried out to minimise health and safety risks. This includes procedures for using maintenance equipment, specifying the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) to be used, and outlining the need for regular breaks.
Additionally, digital work orders make it easy to track and monitor compliance with safety regulations. Using job management software, you can see the status of each work order in real time along with any reported incidents. From there, you can easily identify areas for improvement or intervention, and make changes accordingly. This can help you promptly resolve workplace accidents and create a safer working environment for everyone.
What are the elements of a safe work order?
There are several key elements that every work order should have to promote safe working conditions:
Safe work procedures
To ensure workplace safety and compliance, you should model work order checklists after safe work method statements (SWMS). These statements outline the procedures that on-site contractors, technicians and managers should follow when conducting high-risk construction or field service activities.
SWMS-style checklists often include instructions for conducting risk assessments, equipment maintenance procedures, and work-specific training to prevent injuries. For example, an electrical safety checklist may involve:
- Doing visual inspections for exposed wiring.
- Installing high voltage signs.
- Clearing obstruction.
- Properly insulating live circuitry.
Technicians must complete all items on the checklist before starting the job.
List of PPE
Work order templates should include a list of PPE required for the job. This will help technicians remember what equipment to bring and request from headquarters before heading to the jobsite. For instance, a construction work order may require technicians to bring hard hats, safety glasses, gloves, hi-vis vests, and sunblock. The work order must also provide details on how technicians should use and maintain PPE, so they’re fully prepared and protected for the job.
Pictures and diagrams
Detailed photo references can be incredibly useful for visually oriented technicians. Take a series of pictures on how experienced technicians complete specific work orders and include them as reference for future jobs. This will help technicians safely perform tasks they’re not familiar with. You can also add labelled diagrams to help technicians avoid dangerous mistakes when operating certain assets like electrical and plumbing systems.
Maintenance reports and safety notes from previous work orders are crucial for preventing injuries in a future work order. These can provide a detailed history of an asset, along with any safety concerns noted in the past. This information is also vital for alerting technicians to the potential hazards associated with a job before they even start work.
If an incident does occur, it’s important to have clear reporting protocols on the work order. This can be a small snippet that leads technicians directly to an online portal to report an issue. Work orders should also specify the contractor in charge of overseeing the job as well as their contact details.
How can technicians better manage workplace safety?
With job management platforms like WorkBuddy, technicians can easily maintain workplace safety and compliance. This is made possible by the software’s comprehensive suite of features, which include:
- Electronic safety compliance forms tailored after SWMS
- Customisable business compliance rules that assign the right technician for the job based on expertise and credentials
- Real-time notifications to remind employees of upcoming tasks
- GPS tracking to monitor employee location and job progress
- Digital signatures to confirm completion of work in accordance with the work order
- Field apps for uploading photos, videos, and reports of site safety issues
If you’re looking to boost workplace safety, WorkBuddy can help. Book a free demo today to see how our job management platform can benefit your business.