In order to meet your obligations under the law in respect to work health and safety matters employers/persons conducting a business or undertaking must do the following. (Note: things which you are not obliged to do under law but which will either help you to achieve what the law requires, or are simply good practice, are coloured red below).
There are three ways you can consult with your workers. Whichever of the three suits your business must also be agreed to by your workers. You can:
Remember that your ‘workers’ includes any sub-contractors [though a sub-contractor may be an employer/a person conducting a business or undertaking in their own right, while they are working for you they are your workers as well and you have health and safety obligations to them during that time], work-experience staff, outworkers and volunteers.
Failure to consult with your workers is an offence under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011. More detailed information on obligations regarding consultation with regard to health and safety.
An employer’s/person conducting a business or undertaking primary health and safety requirement under the law is to ensure work safety by ‘managing risk’.
The legislation also says that an employer/a person conducting a business or undertaking must:
An employer/person conducting a business or undertaking must ensure that any plant [i.e. equipment] which requires a certificate or licence to operate is only operated by persons who hold the necessary certificate or licence. The employer/person conducting a business or undertaking must provide appropriate information, instruction, training and supervision to allow the operator to carry out the work safely.
Note: You are not expected to provide a risk-free workplace. Some work health and safety risks cannot be eliminated. All work health and safety risks can be minimised to some extent however. The drop-down menu entitled ‘Hazards’ on our Home Page under Getting Started will give you some ideas on how to manage the risks associated with some of the more commonly encountered workplace hazards.
More detail on how to meet the primary health and safety requirement of ‘managing risks’.
This includes the death of a person, a serious injury or illness of a person or a dangerous incident [be they to workers or to persons visiting the workplace] Failure to report these events to WorkSafe ACT is an offence and can incur significant penalties.
To report these matters complete the relevant form and send it to WorkSafe ACT. You should make sure you have a supply of the forms available at your workplace and a process in place for your workers to complete the form and pass it to management for forwarding on to WorkSafe ACT when required.
You should also keep a copy of the form for your own records and analyse these reports as just one way of identifying possible hazards and risks that may need addressing at your workplace.
The Accident / Incident Report Form
More detail on reporting and how to report accidents or incidents to WorkSafe ACT
One way of ensuring you are taking a structured approach to managing health in safety in your business is to develop and implement a Safety Management System. Developing such a system will put you on the course to achieving best practice in terms of health and safety in your business.
While the Safety Management Systems adopted by larger business can be quite comprehensive (and would usually be based on AS4801), at the end of the day, a safety management system [or OHSMS as it is sometime called] is simply a system for dealing with health and safety in your business.
You should start off with a small system, the size and detail of which suits your business and its current level of understanding of health and safety. Such a system could then be ‘grown’ to something larger and more comprehensive when and if it suits your business needs. Many businesses will hire or contract a health and safety professional to help them develop an OHSMS that suits their business needs.
More detail on Safety Management Systems.
You don’t have to solve all of your work health and safety issues on your own. There are a range of resources available to help you meet your work health and safety obligations.
Health and safety professionals are available in the marketplace to provide your business with advice on specific work health and safety matters, or even to help you ensure that you have done everything that the law requires of you.
WorkSafe ACT also provides a range of resources on its website. Visit our website and consider some of the following items:
There is no legislative requirement to engage in such programs. Many employers/person conducting a business or undertaking have come to see such programs, however, as an integral part of their overall health and safety strategy. More detail on Physical Activity and Wellbeing Programs.
A person in control of premises has a duty under the territory’s health and safety laws to ensure work safety in relation to the premises by ‘managing risk’. This includes maintaining the premises in a way that is consistent with work safety and providing safe entry to and exit from the premises.
‘Managing risk’ means taking reasonably practicable steps to identify any workplace health and safety risk(s) and then either:
Note: You are not expected to provide risk-free premises. Some health and safety risks cannot be eliminated. All health and safety risks can be minimised to some extent however. The drop-down menu entitled ‘Hazards’ on our Home Page under Getting Started will give you some ideas on how to manage the risks associated with some of the more commonly encountered workplace hazards.
If you are also an employer/person conducting a business or undertaking , you may have other safety duties as well.
More details on safety responsibilities for employers/a person conducting a business or undertaking.
In order to meet your obligations under the law in respect of health and safety matters, workers must do the following.
Note: Your employer/person in control of a business or undertaking has an obligation to consult with their workers in relation to health and safety matters. More detail on an employer’s/persons in control of a business or undertaking obligations to consult with their workers.
Any person at a workplace [and workplace means anywhere that work is carried out, be it onsite or off site] has an obligation under health and safety law not to expose others at the workplace to work safety risks because of their conduct. They must comply, so far as the person is reasonably able, with any reasonable instruction that is given by the person conducting the business or undertaking to enable this person to comply with the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.
The Territory’s health and safety laws also has health and safety obligations or ‘duties’ for the following categories of people:
Consult the section nominated above in the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 for more details on the obligations of these parties.