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Safer communities safer towns initiaveWorkplace injuries  and illness especially in small communities can have a devastating ripple effect. A workplace injury  doesn’t just affect a worker and his or her family. It also affects co-workers, the viability of the business which employed them and the community in which they  live.

Small business can find  it challenging dedicating resources to solving work health  and safety problems while  also concentrating on their day-to-day business needs. They often struggle to get timely and affordable access to trustworthy health  and safety advice.

WorkCover NSW is helping businesses  in regional NSW to improve their  work health  and safety and promoting economic growth through the Safer Communities Safer Towns  Initiative. They are offering small business safety rebates, and free practical advice  tailored to suit the special  needs of businesses  in small towns.

WorkCover NSW partners with other NSW government departments including the Small Business Commissioner through Small Biz Connect to streamline services, and to reach more  young workers and businesses. It also partners with neighbouring safety regulators through the Cross-Border Commissioner to help ensure there  is consistency in approach across state borders.

The Safer Communities Safer Towns  Initiative had a wide  range of activities specifically designed for the business profile of each area. The WorkCover NSW safety bus and trailer allows  the advisors to provide face to face support to regional communities where  there  are no regional offices.

Some services  include:

  • support for return to work and injury  management systems
  • visits to wood product manufacturing, road  freight transport and sheep and beef cattle businesses  to promote relevant programs and safety improvement rebates
  • help with workers’ compensation obligations
  • field  audits on equipment and activities where  an accident can cause very  serious consequences, like amusement devices, asbestos removal and hazardous goods storage
  • attending agricultural field  days to promote the sheep and beef cattle project and quad  bike safety, and
  • after hours  advisory sessions.

During 2013–14 a number of Safer Communities Safer Towns events  took place throughout NSW including in Coonabarabran, Bingara, Kandos, Comboyne, Warialda, Oberon, Hay, Grenfell, Thirroul, Condobolin, Tumbarumba, Shoalhaven, Dubbo, Orange, Illawarra, Nowra, Crookwell, Griffith, Moruya, Helensburgh, Coonamble, Temora, Mogo  Gilgandra, Dunedoo, Coolah and Wellington. Advance promotion of these visits to key government and industry stakeholders and to the broader community helped people know when  the visits were  occurring in their  town.

WorkCover NSW holds  presentations including at local shopping centres, runs workshops and field  day stands and inspector assistance visits. They also distribute free small business safety packs with information on the small business safety rebate.

The initiative also focusses on engagement with not-for-profit, non-English speaking, refugee and indigenous associations.

The Safer Communities Safer Towns  Initiative is an ongoing program of work and in 2014-15 will be rolling out to more regional areas and into  metropolitan Sydney. For more information on practical workplace safety or resources for small business call 13 10 50 or visit the WorkCover NSW website.

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Last modified on Wednesday 8 March 2017 [1821|21546]