ANZ Workplace Safety Risks Are Far Too High

New Global Benchmarking Research Shows Lack of EHS Maturity and Future-Readiness

SYDNEY, Dec. 18, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — As the working year draws to a close, new research shows 97% of Australian and New Zealand workplaces are still too vulnerable to health and safety risks. Of those 8.7% are exposed to unacceptably high levels of risk.

Only 3% of organisations believe they are ready to manage their environmental health and safety (EHS) risks. This is despite increasing advocacy for zero risk in the workplace.

The research shows a central problem is the ability to capture vital data, and then action that data in time to prevent or respond to an incident or crisis. The research included more than 1,000 EHS professionals across 20 industries worldwide, and was undertaken by independent analyst firm Focus Networks.

A staggering 68% of EHS leaders do not have confidence in the quality and quantity of data being captured. (See key findings below.) This is not to say EHS professionals are not keeping their workers safe, but that they believe processes could be made much better. 

‘Behavioural economics tells us that executives are overconfident when assessing an organisation’s ability to respond to future events. And we also know that one of the best antidotes for overconfidence is objective data. A 68% no-confidence vote by EHS professionals is very objective and very telling,’ said Neil Mogridge, managing director of HSI APAC, the company that commissioned the research.

‘Risk management is still in its adolescence. An ineffective or inaccurate evaluation of risk likelihood and severity can be extremely serious in EHS, just as it is in cybersecurity.

‘From a risk perspective, we can’t keep thinking “if this happens”, but rather “when this happens”. And, if you’re not prepared to answer the “when” question, you either have a healthy appetite for risk or are extremely complacent. Neither are good,’ Mogridge said.

EHS maturity varies across industries. For example, healthcare and construction both have high risk levels, but their maturity is quite different. Healthcare has a maturity score of 63.6 out of 100 and is the best-performing industry. By contrast, the construction industry scored only 49.3 for maturity out of a possible 100, effectively a fail.

In response to the research report, ACTU Assistant Secretary Liam O’Brien said, ‘All working people should have the right to a safe workplace, but the HSI Donesafe research confirms the lack of health and safety capability is all too common in Australia. A key shortcoming is the failure by some businesses to consult and involve workers and their representatives in the design of their health and safety systems, despite workers being the ones who actually perform the work and understand its risks.

‘ACTU research last year supports these new findings, with 20-25 percent of workers saying that employers did not consult or involve them in decision-making about their own health and safety – that has to change.’

But there is good news.

‘There are a small number of big factors that make a difference,’ said Andrew Milroy, author of the report and lead researcher at Focus Networks, the firm HSI Donesafe commissioned to undertake the survey.

‘First, many organisations are in a complexity blizzard. They can barely see the terrain they are on. This is because there are too many disconnected systems.

‘Safety data is typically time-sensitive and too many organisations cannot action data in time. Often people don’t even know where or how to report an issue. So, a simple, integrated system solves many problems,’ Milroy said.

The research also found that most organisations approached health and safety in terms of compliance, rather than as a part of risk management or as an investment in people and culture.

‘Compliance is a grudge purchase. So, it is no wonder people are not engaging with safety systems and don’t adopt better practices. The leadership team needs to change the narrative on health and safety, so it becomes part of the vision,’ Milroy said.

The research shows that best-practice organisations that have integrated technology and data dramatically reduce complexity. They also focus on the safety of the whole person, which goes beyond physical risks to include psychosocial factors such as anxiety and bullying, as well as cybersecurity and privacy.

‘Yes, technology has developed in leaps and bounds, especially in our ability to integrate and use data in real time, but ultimately this is a leadership matter. It is about risk management and corporate culture. It is about the organisation you want to be, not compliance, and if you don’t understand that you will fall further behind,’ said Jose Arcilla, President and COO, HSI.

ENDS

The Report was prepared by Focus Networks and commissioned by HSI.

A full copy of the report can be found here.

 

Key Findings for Decision Makers

Compliance and engagement

75.8% of organizations are compliance-focused and struggle to engage their people

67.1% of organizations are simply “operational” with limited digitization

88.3% of organizations are vulnerable, in one way or another to risk, and falling behind in their EHS processes

70% of EHS leaders are saddled with multiple point solutions versus a multi-solution platform, increasing their lack of data integrity

68% of leaders report gaps in the security and privacy capabilities of their EHS process

Gaining executive support is the leading concern with implementing a new EHS platform

Reducing workplace incidents and injuries is the leading expected outcome of a new EHS platform, followed by the desire to reduce time spent on administrative tasks

An increasing number of respondents, 57%, are focused on consolidating vendors and costs

A major challenge for immature organizations is effectively engaging their staff and workforce on EHS issues.

Lack of connectivity

In terms of connectivity, 47% of participants cited disparate systems as a major capability gap.

The relationship between complexity and technology is misunderstood

State-of-the-art technology can dramatically simplify data collection, analysis and action, yet far too few organizations understand this relationship, instead preferring to keep adding stand-alone technology that is difficult to integrate.

Contemporary and emerging technologies will improve EHS readiness but, so far, only the most mature organizations understand this potential and have acted on it.

Largest capability gaps

The four biggest gaps overall are:

  1. Lack of engagement with staff and workforce
  2. Lack of integrated data that can be actioned in real time
  3. Low or non-existent resources allocated to psychosocial and mental health challenges
  4. Security and privacy issues

Risk Level and EHS Maturity by Industry

Industry

Risk

Maturity Level

Maturity

score out of 100

Oil and gas

Very high

Operational

57.3

Mining and metals

Very high

Operational

56.4

Healthcare

High

Progressive

63.6

Utilities

High

Progressive

61.1

Construction

High

Foundational

49.3

Transport and logistics

High

Operational

52.9

Agriculture

High

Operational

51.1

Manufacturing

Medium

Operational

56.6

Automotive

Medium

Operational

56.7

Retail

Medium

Operational

59.7

Government

Low

Progressive

61.2

Education

Low

Operational

58.2

Methodology

In the second half of 2023, Focus Network, in collaboration with HSI, conducted 1,013 interviews and surveys of EHS decision-makers across the globe, distributed across more than 20 industries.  Respondents were asked a series of questions relating to each component of the EHS function. Responses to these questions were then used to determine maturity for each component. A number of categories were determined for overall mean maturity scores in terms of readiness and in terms of risk.

Global breakdown of responses:  37% North America, 29% ANZ, 26% UK, 7% Other Countries

Organisation size: 41% greater than 1,000 total employees, 59% lower than 1,000 total employees

About HSI Donesafe 

HSI Donesafe, a global integrated EHSQ and ESG software leader, has redefined how modern workplaces realise safer, smarter and more sustainable ways of working. Donesafe is an advanced cloud-native platform for achieving universal regulatory compliance, risk management and data reporting.

Built with next-generation no-code technology, the Donesafe platform boasts 50+ adaptive modules. This unmatched configurability empowers clients to effortlessly co-design their own modules with drag-and-drop ease, unlocking a world of possibilities, all managed within a single source platform.

Used by over 3 million people globally, the Donesafe platform is trusted by the world’s largest organisations, including governments, for its next-level security, privacy, and authentication standards. It delivers a world-class suite of enterprise support services, integration connectivities, and business intelligence (BI) reporting capabilities, designed to keep future-ready workplaces adapting at pace.

For more information, visit: https://www.donesafe.com.

HSI Donesafe is a division of HSI, a global single-source partner for EHS, ESG, training, compliance and professional development solutions with over 40 years of experience supporting enterprises, including many Fortune 500 companies, spanning 22,000 customers across 71 countries.

For more information, visit: https://www.hsi.com.

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SOURCE HSI Donesafe

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