The Risk Management Tool Box Blog

Travel Agent Safety Program

Graham Marshall - Sunday, May 01, 2011
I recently received an e-mail from Gerald (surname withheld) who manages a large travel agent call-center employing in excess of 70 full-time and part-time workers. 

The call center is located in Australia (not India). 

Gerald asked about the requirements for managing Occupational Health and Safety in his business.

Whilst offering specific OHS advice to Gerald, I thought it worthwhile to raise some more general good practices for those of you involved with call centers - wherever you are.

The first and main point, is that all employers must address the hazards commonly found in whatever industry  your organization is working within.

Now, although call-center work may be relatively low-risk compared to oil and gas, mining, construction or farming, that does not mean it is "no-risk".

Just as in any other industry, hazards associated with call center work must be identified, assessed and controlled in accordance with relevant Occupational Safety and Health Acts and Regulations as well as in line with codes of practice and national and/or international standards.

In all legislative regimes (eg., Australia, UK, Canada, NZ, etc.,), OSH Acts and Regulations contain duties that describe the responsibilities of people who impact on safety and health at work.

In general, employers in call-centers must, so far as is reasonably practicable:

  • Provide a workplace and safe system of work so employees are not exposed to hazards;
  • Provide employees with information, instruction, training and supervision to enable them to work safely;
  • Consult and co-operate with employees and  their Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) about OSH matters;
  • Provide equipment and protective clothing where hazards cannot be managed by other means; and
  • Ensure equipment can be used, cleaned, maintained, transported and disposed of safely.

 

In order to meet the duty of care, employers in call-centers must ensure that safe systems of work are fully-developed and this usually means that workplace policies and procedures are implemented addressing the level of risk found in the call-center.

In addition to the points made above, safe systems of work may include:

  • Hazard identification and risk assessment and risk control processes;
  • Monitoring performance and reviewing control measures;
  • Appropriate OSH inductions for all new employees;
  • On-going OSH training programs for employees exposed to or managing hazards (e.g., ergonomic work station, manual handling, "hot-desking" hygiene, etc);
  • An established procedure for reporting and recording information on hazards and/or incidents;
  • Appropriate incident investigations;
  • Provision of appropriate job or task procedures;
  • Ongoing inspection and maintenance programs for equipment;
  • Emergency evacuation procedures and frequent drills; and
  • Periodic review of safety policies and procedures.

Click here to review the Australian Code of Practice For OSH in Call Centers.

Don't forget to visit the risk tool box shop and check out some of the tools we've put together that can help any call center employer fulfill their duty of care.


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