Preparing and delivering a site based environmental induction takes specific skills and knowledge. It may seem like a fairly simple process however many people get it wrong or miss the point. Most site based environmental inductions are too long, not interactive and generally not understood by the audience. This means poor outcomes in regards to communicating with your employees and contractors about the environmental issues and controls of your business or project.
Why is it important to prepare great site based environmental inductions
These inductions are often the primary time you have with your staff and contractors to share information on approvals and key environmental risks and sensitivities. As well as mitigation and management strategies to be implemented and how to respond in the event of an environmental hazard or incident.
It’s a lot of information to share!
To help, we’ve pulled together our top five tips for creating a site based environmental induction that will engage and educate your audience.
1. Keep it short and simple
It is 6:30am on a brisk winter morning and you are delivering an induction to the newbies onsite. They are tired, anxious and just wanting to get through their first day of work. Keep your induction simple, an appropriate length and targeted to your audience including their specific role and responsibilities.
2. Use appropriate language
Avoid acronyms, technical terms and references that your audience will not know or understand. It may seem appropriate to quote all relevant legislation and hierarchy of documents for the business or project however this will bore your average operator. Rather than quoting legislative requirements, use more interactive communication such as saying “did you know that we all have a responsibility in regards to protecting the environment?” and then discuss the relevant requirements.
3. Use pictures and other prompters
We all know when we have attended an amazing presentation from a gifted speaker that uses no slides or other props to deliver a strong message. Try to use this method to deliver your induction and engage with your participants rather than just reading presentation slides.
4. Make it interactive
Let your audience do some of the work. Asking questions can gauge the level on pre-existing knowledge you audience already has and it keeps them engaged throughout the induction. Most importantly, asking questions and getting feedback will provide confirmation that your audience understands the content.
5. Keep it up to date
There’s nothing worse than a presentation that has been obviously cut together from a previous business or project or has outdated or irrelevant information. Typically this will be picked up by your listeners and you will lose all credibility.
After the site based environmental induction
The induction is not the only time you have to communicate environmental information to staff and contractors. To reinforce important environmental risks, such as exclusion zones, or provide more detail on processes, such as the spill response procedure, additional tools like environmental alerts and toolbox talks can be used to support environmental education.
When you’re following our tips and developing a concise site based environmental induction, take note of the key topics that could benefit from further explanation. This will be your prompt to detail and develop a suite of supporting information materials. These materials can be placed up on noticeboards in key areas of the workplace, shared at toolbox talks or distributed in work packs.
Do you need assistance?
We have extensive experience in the development and delivery of environmental inductions and training materials.
Contact us if you need support or have a detailed question for one of our team of experts.
Applied Environment & Safety have recently reviewed and updated our Health, Safety and Environmental management system to include quality. This is part of our routine review and update of the system. Reviews of management systems are a key component of the continuous improvement cycle.
Further to our management system review and update, we have updated this article to include information on quality management systems, reflecting the update in the Applied Environment & Safety management system.
This article provides the perfect introduction to best understand management systems, covering the following key topics:
What are management systems;
What are the typical elements of a management system;
How to ensure your management system is effective;
Key management system standards you should know:
ISO 14001:2015 – Environmental management systems;
ISO 45001:2018 – Occupational health and safety management systems;
ISO 9001:2015 – Quality management systems;
Integrated management systems; and
Why are management systems important.
What are management systems
A management system is the way in which a business manages the interrelated parts of its operations in order to achieve its objectives. These objectives can relate to a number of different business aspects including health and safety, environmental performance, product or service quality, operational efficiency and many more.
The level of complexity of the management system will depend on business specific context. For some businesses, especially smaller ones, it may simply mean having strong leadership from the business owner, providing a clear definition of what is expected from each individual employee and how they contribute to the overall organisational objectives, without the need for extensive documentation. More complex businesses operating, for example, in highly regulated sectors, may need extensive and detailed documentation and controls in order to fulfil their legal obligations and meet their organisational objectives.
What are the typical elements of a management system
Management systems are tools for managing complexity. They are about setting goals and considering organisational conditions, deriving actions and measures from the goals, and reliably completing tasks to achieve the goals through clear processes and responsibilities.
Management systems are made up of a series of interconnected elements that drive continual improvement of a particular discipline or aspect of an organisation such as safety, quality and environment. These elements all serve to support the overarching purpose of the system which is to drive continual improvement toward a policy, vision or value expectation.
In order to deliver continual improvement consistently across an organisation, measures are required that affect all areas – from top management to trainees. Management systems, therefore are typically based on a four-phase cycle: Plan, Do, Check, Act.
Here are the phases of the Plan, Do, Check, Act cycle explained in simple terms:
1. Plan The first step to any system planning or process improvement is to figure out what you need to do. Like any project plan, this includes a variety of information, such as: – Objectives and success metrics; – Deliverables or end result; – Stakeholders; – Timeline; and – Any relevant risks or constraints.
2. Do Once you have a plan, the next step is to put it into action and try it out. We would suggest implementing your plan on a small scale to ensure it works.
3. Check Review the implementation of the Do phase to ensure everything went according to your plan. More likely than not, you will identify things to improve on during the Do phase. After all, it is called the continuous improvement cycle and the Check phase is critical to finding these small things before they get too big and problematic.
4. Act After reviewing, move to the Act phase, which includes rolling out the full plan or process improvement. Don’t forget that this is a cycle, if you need to, return to the Plan phase to continuously improve your project or processes.
How do I ensure my management system is effective
One of the best ways to ensure that you management system is effective with all the applicable processes is to refer to a standard set of requirements. Management system standards (MSS) are codes, guidelines or processes used by an business to formalise, systematise and legitimise their activities or tasks.
MSS can improve business performance by specifying repeatable steps that can be implemented to achieve goals and objectives. As well as create an organisational culture that engages in a continuous self-evaluation, correction and improvement through employee awareness and management leadership and commitment.
Key management system standards (MSS) you should know
There are internationally recognised standards for management systems including ISO 9001 (quality), ISO 14001 (environmental) and ISO 45001 (occupational health and safety). These standards define processes, procedures and records requirement for a successful management system.
These management systems can be the subject of ISO certification. A summary of the key MSS are outlined below.
ISO 9001:2015 Quality management system
ISO 9001:2015 sets out the criteria and requirements for establishing, maintaining and continually improving a system that helps businesses consistently deliver services or products that meet customer requirements and complies with applicable regulations. The standard places a strong emphasis on risk based thinking and context analysis as well as the need for businesses to regularly review and update their quality management system to ensure it remains effective and is aligned with strategic objectives.
ISO 14001:2015 Environmental management systems
ISO 14001:2015 helps businesses achieve the intended outcomes of their environmental management. This includes enhancement of environmental performance, fulfilment of compliance obligations and achievement of environmental sustainability objectives.
ISO 45001:2018 Occupational health and safety management systems
ISO 45001:2018 provides a systematic approach to managing health and safety in the workplace. The standard helps businesses to establish, implement and maintain processes to eliminate hazards, minimise risks and address nonconformities. It provides guidance on how to use management processes to prevent work-related injuries and illnesses, as well as how to proactively improve workplace health and safety performance.
Integrated management systems
An integrated management system (IMS) is a single system designed to manage multiple aspects of a businesses operations in line with multiple standards such as quality, environment and health and safety management. Ultimately, quality, environment and health and safety control have many common points, and all work towards the goal of making businesses more effective and efficient. Therefore these systems can be integrated to minimise duplication or creating extra work for staff.
In practice, an IMS involves merging existing formal systems and implementing specific best practices business wide.
Why are management systems important
A management system is an effective method of documenting processes and ensuring consistency in implementation. As well as identifying opportunities for improvement.
The benefits of an effective management system include:
More efficient use of resources and improved financial performance;
Improved risk management and protection of people and the environment;
Ensuring compliance with regulatory and best practice obligations; and
Increased capability to deliver consistent and improved services and products, thereby increasing value to customers and all other stakeholders.
Do you need assistance?
We have vast experience in the development, implementation and review of management systems.
Our experience includes:
Management system review and gap analysis;
Development of management system documentation including policies and standards;
Environmental management procedures;
Safe operating procedures;
Forms and checklists; and
Auditing of management system compliance and opportunities for improvement.
Contact us if you need further support or have a detailed question for our team of experts.
Recently an Applied Environment & Safety employee spotted a suspected fire ants nest in their front yard. They spotted a loose mound of soil with no entry or exit holes. This was a key fire ant nest indicator that they recalled from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program training from years ago.
The suspected nest was reported using the National Fire Ant Eradication Program’s (NFAEP) online reporting form. Two days later a crew from the NFAEP visited to confirm the nest was fire ants, take a sample of the ants, treat the nest and provide our employee with some tips on further reporting and treatment.
A couple months and a second round of treatment later, the ants are no longer present in their yard.
If you live or work in South East Queensland, keeping an eye out for fire ants is important to help eradicate fire ants from Australia. The following information on identification, reporting, treatment and training can assist in contributing to the effort.
Looking for Fire Ants
Fire ants may be small, but they can have devastating consequences on our environment, economy, human health and outdoor way of life. They can destroy crops, damage machinery, kill native flora and fauna and render backyards and parks unusable. In rare cases, fire ant stings can also lead to a severe and sometimes fatal reaction in humans.
Fire ants and their nests
Unlike other ants, fire ants are aggressive and will swarm when disturbed. They are also smaller and look a little different than you might think. Their distinguishing features are:
– Copper brown in colour with a darker abdomen;
– Measure 2 – 6 mm in size; and
– Come in a variety of sizes in the one nest.
Their nests can appear as mounds or flat patches of loose sifted soil with no obvious or exit holes. They are commonly found in warm, open areas such as:
– Footpaths and driveways;
– Garden beds and piles of organic matter;
– Near water sources, including taps, dams and irrigation lines;
– Utility pits;
– Edges of cultivated land;
– Cropland post-harvest; and
– Fence lines.
When looking for fire ants, ensure you wear appropriate personal protective equipment, such as boots and gloves. If you find a suspect ant or nest, use a long stick and gently prod the nest, and inspect any ants present.
Don’t spread fire ants
Fire ants are highly mobile and adaptive, the greatest risk to spread is human-assisted movement. They disperse quite slowly on their own, but people speed them up through the movement of organic materials. If disturbed, a fire ant queen can fly up to 5 km to start a new nest and raft on water following floods and wet weather events.
The pest likes to nest in soil, baled hay, mulch, manure, quarry products, turf and potted plants. This is why people working with these materials in South East Queensland, at home or at work, should follow the fire ant biosecurity zones and movement restrictions in the Biosecurity Regulation 2016. Penalties can apply to individuals or companies found to move the pest.
Under the Biosecurity Act 2014, all Queenslanders have a general biosecurity obligation (GBO) to manage any biosecurity risks and threats:
Eradicating fire ants requires a whole-of-community approach. This includes homeowners and tenants, businesses and all levels of government. It is a legal requirement under the Biosecurity Act 2014 for everyone to take all reasonable steps to stop fire ants from spreading. This starts with reporting fire ants within 24 hours of finding them.
The NFAEP have created free self-paced online courses to support general residents, community groups, tradespeople who work outdoors, school staff and primary producers in learning more about fire ants and how to manage them. The training can be completed on a computer, laptop or mobile device. There are three specific training packages available:
Business sustainability is increasingly important with organisations committing to net zero targets and other environmental goals; consumers demanding sustainable products; and corporations seeking ‘green’ supply chains. Getting ahead in implementing sustainable practices can set businesses apart from their competition. As well as boost their efficiency, improve their ability to withstand challenges, and benefit their community and the environment.
Business sustainability goes beyond short-term profit maximisation. It embraces a broader perspective that encompasses environmental stewardship, social responsibility, and economic resilience. Business sustainability also recognises that businesses operate within a larger ecosystem and community. This includes having a responsibility to minimise their negative impacts on the environment, society, and stakeholders while maximising positive contributions.
Sustainability maturity refers to how an organisation approaches sustainability as well as the level to which an organisation has achieved in integrating sustainability principles and practices into it’s operations, decision making processes and strategy. Sustainability maturity acknowledges that organisations develop over time in their commitment and become increasingly capable of addressing sustainability.
A business with low sustainability maturity will have little to no strategic or operational considerations for sustainability. Any environmental measures or tracking that has been implemented is unlikely to extend beyond existing regulations. They may anticipate the need to adapt in the future but have yet to implement additional sustainable practices.
Businesses that have progressed further on their sustainability journey are likely to have taken steps beyond basic compliance with regulation. The drivers of implementing sustainable practices include external forces outside regulation, such as consumer demand and other market pressures.
Businesses at the far end of their sustainability maturity journey have implemented initiatives across the entirety of the businesses. Such businesses are driven internally to pursue sustainable innovation, with sustainability being a primary factor in decision making throughout all levels of the organisation. Sustainability is viewed as brand enhancement and a driver of long term growth.
The Sustainability Maturity Path, pictured below from PWC and adapted by Ecochain, shows the six stages of the pathway together with the drivers and value methodology.
Top reasons for businesses to advance their sustainability maturity as identified by Business Chamber Queensland in the Advancing Business Sustainability Report include:
– Becoming more competitive by differentiating from competitors;
– Avoid being left behind in changing and developing markets;
– Enhancement in business resilience; and
– Reduction in the risk of business disruptions.
Business Sustainability at Applied Environment & Safety
We believe in promoting business sustainability and leading by example.
We really believe that every person and every business can make a difference. You don’t need to be a big organisation, or spend a lot of money, there are sustainable options, sustainable choices for everyone and every business.
Melanie Dixon – Director and Principal Consultant
As a company, we provide environmental, land access and safety consulting services across a wide range of projects. Our team focuses on the practical and best practice aspects of planning, implementation, and compliance. We aim to improve the performance of the projects that we support to add value and ensure sustainable outcomes for our clients.
As a business, Applied Environment & Safety has moved into the leadership step of the sustainability maturity path. We have invested in strategic programs to support our sustainability journey, including undertaking the ecoBiz program, and obtaining carbon neutral accreditation. For more information, read about Who We Are.
Applied Environment and Safety have utilised the free ecoBiz program as one of the ways to track their environmental performance. Through this process, we have obtained a quantitative measure of our energy, water, and waste usage. As a result of the program, we have implemented several initiatives to reduce energy and water consumption and waste production, earning a three-star partnership from ecoBiz by reducing energy, water and waste consumption relative to their productivity, by more than 10%.
Applied Environment and Safety have successfully become carbon neutral through Climate Active certification. This involved quantifying and reducing emission and then offsetting any remaining emissions to achieve a netzero carbon emissions output. Following obtaining carbon neutral accreditation, we have developed a five-year carbon emissions reduction strategy. This involves transitioning our vehicle fleet to electric vehicles and reducing the emissions in our supply chain through supporting other carbon neutral businesses. Another goal includes a shift towards zero waste. These initiatives require on-going monitoring and the setting of environmental key performance indicators that can be considered at every level of our business.
Psychological safety refers to the belief that one can express themselves without fear of negative consequences such as humiliation, rejection, or punishment. It is the sense of security that people feel when they believe that their opinions, feelings and ideas will be respected and valued by others. As well as that they will not be subjected to ridicule, blame, or retaliation for expressing them.
Psychological safety is highly relevant to organisations and employers as it plays a significant role in shaping the culture and climate of the workplace.
What is a psychological hazard?
A psychosocial hazard is anything that could cause psychological harm which could for example impact on someone’s mental health. They arise from or are in relation to:
The design or management of work;
The working environment;
Plant at a workplace such as machinery, equipment, appliances, containers, implements and tools; or
Workplace interactions or behaviours.
Psychological hazards can create stress which can cause psychological or physical harm. Stress itself is not an injury, but if it becomes frequent, prolonged or severe it can cause psychological and physical harm.
Psychological harm may include anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder or sleep disorders. Physical harm may include musculoskeletal injuries, chronic disease or fatigue related injuries.
Psychosocial hazards may interact or combine to create new, changed or higher risks. It is important to consider all the psychosocial hazards workers may be exposed to when managing psychosocial risks.
Some hazards may not create psychosocial risks on their own, but may do so if combined with other hazards.
How do employers identify psychological hazards in workplaces?
Employers can identify psychological hazards in the workplace by conducting a risk assessment. Other methods that can be used to identify psychological hazards can include:
Worker and Employee Consultation
Engage with management, staff, key stakeholders, etc. through collaborative workshops to discuss operations and tasks to identify any issues or concens related to psychological health and safety in the workplace.
Encourage feedback. This is critically important for larger businesses where management cannot oversee all aspects of work. Front line workers are a great asset for identifying and reporting hazards.
Workplace Inspections and Audits
Regular workplace inspections, audits and observations help to identify potential hazards, such as unsafe working conditions, that may impact worker psychological health and safety.
Incident Reporting and Review
Review reports of hazards, incidents or complaints related to workplace bullying, harassment and stress to identify potential hazards.
Review Workplace Policies and Procedures
Employers, with the engagement of employees, can review workplace policies and procedures to identify any potential hazards or gaps in current practices.
Once potential psychological hazards have been identified, organisations and employers can take steps to eliminate or minimise their impact on workers. This may involve implementing new policies and procedures, providing training and education, and making changes to the physical work environment.
Approaches and examples of psychologically safety in the workplace
There are several key initiatives that organisations and employers can implement to create a psychologically safe workplace that promotes well-being and productivity of employees. The table below lists key approaches and examples of psychological safety initiatives.
Psychological Safety Approaches
Establish clear expectations and policies that promote a culture of respect and inclusivity.
Developing policies and procedures related to workplace bullying, harassment, and discrimination and providing training and education to employees on these issues.
Encourage open communication by establishing clear channels for employees to voice their concerns and ideas.
Regular team meetings, anonymous feedback systems, and regular check-ins with employees.
Provide training and development opportunities.
Opportunities for employees to build skills, confidence, and resilience through training and development programs, coaching and mentoring, and other support services.
Foster a positive work environment.
Recognise and reward employee contributions, celebrate successes, and promoting a sense of belonging among employees.
Manage workloads and resources.
Manage workloads and resources to ensure that employees are not overworked or overstressed through providing additional resources, such as staffing or equipment, and monitoring workloads to ensure that they are manageable.
Promote work-life balance.
Providing flexible work arrangements, such as part-time work, job-sharing, or telecommuting, and promoting work-life balance policies and programs.
Upcoming legislative changes in Queensland
From 1 April 2023, persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) in Queensland will have a positive duty under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld) to manage psychosocial risks in the workplace. Similar requirements are already in effect in New South Wales, with new duties to manage psychosocial risks commenced in the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017 (NSW) on 1 October 2022.
This means that organisations and employers must be proactive in identifying and managing psychosocial hazards in the workplace, such as workplace bullying, harassment, and stress, and take steps to eliminate or minimise their impact on workers.
Overall, promoting psychological safety in the workplace can lead to a more positive and productive work environment, where employees feel valued, supported, and empowered to contribute to the success of the organisation.
Do you need assistance?
We have vast experience in the review, development and implementation of health and safety management systems.
Our experience includes:
Management system compliance review
Review and development of management systems to Standards and other regulatory requirements
Management system documents development including policies, standards, and safe operating procedures development
Auditing of management system for compliance and opportunities for improvement
Contact us if you need further support or have detailed question for our team of experts.