Workplace safety is a key responsibility of both employees and employers. Everyone is responsible for ensuring their actions in the workplace are safe for both themselves and others. Failure to accept these responsibilities can not only result in disciplinary action under the workplace health and safety laws in your state or territory, but can lead to serious equipment damage, personal injury or death.
As an employer, you have a moral obligation to keep your staff safe from harm for the sake of themselves and their families and for the continued success of your business. After all, you rely on your people to keep your operations going.
Perhaps the more intimidating part of workplace safety is your legal obligations. Workplace safety has long been recognised as a vitally important part of the operations of any business. For this reason, it is constantly evolving and the legal requirements that all employers must to adhere to are becoming more and more strict.
Workplace health and safety legislation
By law, all businesses must comply with workplace health and safety legislation to ensure the health and safety of their workers. Your duty of care is a legal obligation to ensure your workplace is free of those hazards that might result in work-related injury and/or death. It is important that all businesses develop and implement workplace health and safety policies and procedures that allow them to meet their duty of care and ensure legal compliance.
Your obligations under these laws cover areas such as the safe storage as use of equipment, tools and machinery, the provision of adequate training and supervision, regular monitoring of plant, equipment and processes, documentation and reporting.
You may have come across the terms WHS and OH&S – but what do they mean? WHS stands for workplace health and safety and is concerned with protecting the health and safety of all stakeholders in the workplace from hazards and risks. WHS used to be referred to as OH&S (Occupational Health & Safety).
Now, through a process called harmonisation, each state and territory has its own safety laws based on an agreed model WHS Act. Safety Xchange can help you navigate these differences in legislation and ensure your organisation is compliant Australia-wide. Safe Work Australia leads national policy to improve work health and safety and workers compensation across Australia and links you to the state and territory-specific regulators.