28 April 2023
World Day for Safety and Health at Work is an international day celebrated annually on April 28th, designated to raise awareness of global workplace safety and promote preventative measures that can help protect your team from hazards, injuries, and illnesses.
This special day is a chance to remind employers of the importance of providing safe, healthy working conditions for everyone. At GO, to promote health and safety in the workplaces, we organise seminars or workshops on safety topics, offer training, circulate awareness campaigns about workplace hazards and implement strategies for reducing risks associated with occupational hazards.
Our GO Star’s safety, overall health and wellbeing is of utmost importance to us. Regardless of the role our team has, we prioritise offering and maintaining a safe working environment. The ones who are mostly exposed to risks are our Technicians, who face different risks at every place they visit, either whilst working on the road or at a customer’s premises. We never relax and say that we have done enough to safeguard the Health and Safety of our team, since in our everchanging environment we always discover new risks.
One of the things that we emphasize and cultivate within our team is feedback. We listen to our team’s concerns and continuously work to safeguard their health and safety with training, updating Standard Operating Procedures, Risks Assessments, provision of new tools, inspection of machinery, tools and equipment, provision of Personal Protective Equipment, health surveillance, safety inspections, investigation of all accidents or near misses. You will find our Health & Safety Specialist, Joseph, quite often saying that his top priority is that every one of our GO Stars returns home safely.
We asked Joseph to share with us what GO does in terms of Health & Safety. We discussed all the measures we take, the areas we focus on and how we ensure our environment is a safe one that allows our GO Stars to thrive.
All technicians undergo an intensive Health & Safety (H&S) course. The training is specific to the tasks they carry out and we go through the detailed company H&S Manual. Other safety related training includes an Enemalta course on power infrastructure familiarisation, First Aid, Building Industry Consultative Council (BICC) safety training, cherry picker training which includes safe set up, fire warden training for members of the evacuation team, forklift truck and manual handling training for colleagues who work on our stores.
We keep ourselves updated on tools available on the local and foreign market for different tasks. The type of tools we use are changed when better models or different tools are found, which could render work easier and safer. There have been instances where we discussed with manufacturers to design tools specific to our requirements, like we did for the ladders our team uses. It is also a Company Policy to regularly inspect and test tools and equipment to ensure that they remain in a good a safe state of repair.
Apart from the fact that risk assessments are a legal requirement, we also take the opportunity to have a closer look at our environment and the way we work. Risk assessments are to identify risks associated with the working environment, tools or machinery, chemicals, radiation and work processes, just to name a few.
Some risks may not be directly related to the tasks performed by our GO Stars but are created by work performed by third parties in the same working area, like a construction site, or hazards present at our customer’s premises. At GO, most risk assessments are carried out in-house with the involvement of our team and/or their leaders, who have a better understanding of the environment and tasks carried out. This way helps us make sure that the assessment is tailor made and specific for the actual work done, and not based on information that is available on the web.
Involving team members and the leadership team in such assessments is how we truly Act Like Owners and have a better understanding on what control measures need to be taken because of these assessments.
Risk Assessments are reviewed periodically to cater for changes in circumstances and include new identified risks and additional control measures which may be required. These assessments are made available on the company intranet for all GO Stars to be educated and to always access them easily. Leaders can also see control measures adopted by other departments, which may be applicable for their teams also.
GO H&S manual:
GO has got a very detailed H&S manual covering many topics, and in fact we are proud to say that we had won one of the national H&S Awards, organised by OHSA, when it was published. Since then, our manual has been regularly updated with new information, very often as a result of new risks identified during an assessment.
Personal protective equipment (PPE):
Our team is equipped with European standards protective equipment, that is replaced whenever it does not continue to offer the required level of protection.
Our technical team works in confined spaces and also at heights, therefore they undergo pre-employment medical examinations and periodically thereafter, to ensure that they are medically fit to carry out their tasks safely.
When it comes to our GO Stars that work from the office, the undergo vision screening tests regularly and ophthalmological examinations when required.
We are extremely happy and grateful that we have a very low accident rate, when considering the hazards our team has to face on the field, however this doesn’t stop us from doing what is necessary to understand all risks.
We consider each accident as an unwanted event which has brought pain to our team member and we investigate every accident in depth to identify what were the causes of it and work on any actions to be taken to reduce the possibility of the same or similar accident from happening again.
Such events are also used during H&S training sessions, so that our team would become more aware of risks present in their work. Sometimes, such accidents trigger the need to try and find better tools which can be used, and which would assist our team to perform their work safer.
Health & Safety is everyone’s responsibility:
Along the years, a cultural change has been developed where each leader is responsible for the health and safety of their team. The Health & Safety Specialist draws up Safety Policies and Safe Work Procedures, in consultation with leaders, and assists them in fulfilling their responsibility whenever assistance or guidance is required.
Like all workplaces, at GO, the co-operation of each GO Star plays a very important role on the effectiveness of these initiatives. Creating a healthy and safe work environment is our top priority and investing in health and safety also helps create a positive culture that encourages innovation and collaboration.
Though it may seem like just one day, World Day for Safety and Health at Work is an important reminder that we must all take responsibility for our own safety and the safety of those around us. By taking steps to prioritize health and wellbeing in the workplace, we can help ensure safe and healthy workplaces for everyone.