WHS: Pets at Work.
Rose Training talks the WHS benefits and disadvantages of a pet friendly workplace.
Have you ever considered the thought of bringing along your Border collie or Tabby cat to work? On top of that, have you ever considered that this practise may in fact be WHS friendly too? At RTA, we know if Dr Mittens was allowed at work most of our time would be spent cuddling him! But there are quite a few breeds of cats and dogs out there that hate being left alone while their owners are at work (and can turn to destructive habits like obsessive digging and ruining furniture), and we all know that pet sitting can be expensive. Many companies world wide are now becoming pet friendly, meaning that they are modifying their WHS regulations to allow their beloved canine and feline companions to be part of the workplace environment. It’s not as simple as “Hey! Everyone bring their pets to work tomorrow! It’ll be great!” It does take serious WHS analysis and can be a long process from transitioning your own company to a pet friendly one. In this blog, Rose Training Australia is going to discuss the nitty gritty aspects of WHS and pets at work.
Here are a couple of WHS case studies on this topic.
Google’s WHS rules decree a yay to dogs and a nay to cats. They reckon that dogs are more integral to their culture than cats, and as such having both animals there would freak the cats out a bit. Fair enough. Some guidelines for dog care at their work is cleaning up after their dogs go to the toilet and being mindful of allergies their co workers may have.
At the World HQ of Build-A-Bear (ya know, that place where you can make your own Teddy Bear?), employees are allowed to bring their dogs in to work! The company even has a CED (Chief Executive Dog) called Milford, who has a grand birthday celebration every year, and all of other HQ dogs are invited. Build-A-Bear’s pet friendly WHS policy could be one of the reasons it was named in Fortune’s Top 100 Places to work 3 years in a row.
Everyone’s favourite book and DVD website Amazon also has dog friendly WHS regulations. An employee who wants to bring their dog to work needs to step over some WHS hurdles first; they have to register the animal as a workplace dog, and make sure its up to date on vaccinations. At work WHS rules require that the dog has to be on a leash, or must be in an office with a closed door or behind a baby gate.
So what’s some important WHS stuff to know about pet friendly workplaces?
WHS philosophy has begun to acknowledge that a pet friendly work policy can “attract a special, high-performing, and caring employee base. Employees also tend to feel more inspired, more creative, and more comfortable. And executives can take pride in seeing their employees happy and thriving.”
Pets at work mean that WHS emergency plans must be modified. Issues like protocol for leaving pets behind in the case of fire (sad face), identifying employees who are responsible for Pet First Aid, and having pet friendly escape routes (be this the same as where employees exit the building, or different) are all important.
According to Erich Wuhrman, “Developing a pet team comprised of representatives from all departments (including the executive team) who enforce a thoughtful pet policy will be helpful in remembering to address these issues on a regular basis.”
It’s important that pets are part of WHS practice drills like fire evacuations so they aren’t stressed out by loud noises if the real deal occurs
Pets respond differently to WHS emergencies than us. Employees should make active efforts to learn about pet behaviour (not just of their own pets, but others too).
Our next WHS courses are:
- WHS Diploma 18th November
- WHS Diploma 9th December
Also, why not review us on Yelp? Click the icon below to do so!