Work Health and Safety in Supply Chain Management

WHS in Supply Chain Management

Work health and safety (WHS) involves managing risks, reducing the risk of harm and keeping all stakeholders in a business safe. It’s a vital part of all businesses and industries but is of particular importance in the different stages of supply chain management, from sourcing to production to delivery.

Supply chain employees who are skilled in WHS are in high demand as businesses look to protect not only their employees from harm but the business itself from legal liability and increasing compliance regulations. COVID-19 has added another layer of demand to WHS obligations.

Work health and safety skills in supply chain management

When working in supply chain management, just like in any role, work health and safety is paramount.

A mixture of skills is required to work effectively in a WHS role. Along with technical know-how and understanding the required legislation, some of the ‘soft skills’ needed to be successful are:

  • Communication – explaining policies and procedures in a clear way
  • Listening – taking on feedback from team members
  • Empathy – understanding the needs of your team
  • Leadership – building effective working relationships with your colleagues and fostering a workplace culture that values safety
  • Attention to detail – able to spot risks, no matter how small they may appear

Ensuring you have a combination of technical and soft skills will empower your team to feel fully involved in the safety process, and confident that they can come to you with any issues they may be concerned about – no matter how small. Your technical knowledge and skills enable you to spot additional risks that others miss and put safety measures in place.

Why are work health and safety skills in high demand?

Currently, work health and safety skills are in demand in most workplaces, especially in such a dynamic industry like supply chain management.

Equipping yourself with WHS skills will set you apart from others during the recruitment process and is a smart way to open yourself up to promotions or leadership opportunities as your career progresses.

Employers value work health and safety for several reasons:

  • Keeps them and their staff safe
  • Reduces the risk of injury or illness
  • Boosts workplace happiness as staff feel protected and safe at work
  • Protects the business from legal liability
  • Reduces potential costs of worker’s compensation or legal fees
  • Protects the workplace from physical injuries, environmental hazards and bio-hazards

Checklist for WHS in Logistics and Procurement

Where to get work health and safety training

If you’re working or planning to work in supply chain management, then completing work health and safety training as part of a well-rounded diploma qualification is a smart choice.

A Diploma of Logistics (TLI50221) will provide you with a broad range of skills by completing units such as:

  • Manage suppliers
  • Manage budgets and financial plans
  • Manage risks
  • Ensure a safe workplace for a work area
  • Manage operational plans
  • Facilitate continuous improvement

Another option is the Diploma of Business (Procurement) (BSB50120), which has a greater focus on supply.

You’ll complete a range of both core and elective units which give you the skills needed to work effectively in procurement, as well as vital WHS skills too. Some units include:

  • Manage a supply chain
  • Manage procurement strategies
  • Facilitate continuous improvement
  • Ensure a safe workplace for a work area
  • Manage procurement risks

Along with these qualifications, a mixture of on the job training and more specific health and safety training (if required) will put you in good stead for future supply chain management roles.

How to create a work health and safety policy

When working in work health and safety in the supply chain management industry, a big part of your role will likely include creating and implementing WHS policies.

To create an effective WHS policy, you should consider the following:

  • Clearly identifying the risks
  • Considering less obvious risks that may occur outside of the workplace or factory
  • Breaking the policy into sections or steps, if applicable
  • Considering all the relevant laws and legislation and how they may apply
  • Consulting with team members and managers to get feedback
  • Putting aside time to explain the policy to colleagues and communicate its’ importance
  • Distributing the policy and ensuring it’s easily accessible to all team members

Why general supply chain management skills are vital

If your role requires you to work specifically in work health and safety, you may wonder why learning more about the supply chain process is important.

To identify and understand all the risks, you must have a thorough understanding of the whole process. If you’re not aware of the situations your team members are in or the tasks they’re undertaking, then it’s impossible to be across all the potential issues.

A well-rounded understanding of the supply chain will help you to effectively pre-empt risks, rather than waiting for them to appear (arguably the most crucial part of effective WHS).

You’ll find that you’ll be able to understand and relate to your peers better and can build higher-quality workplace relationships.

Working in supply chain management is a challenging but rewarding career. Like all industries, work health and safety is an integral part of working effectively in your role, no matter what part of the supply chain you choose to be involved.