Risk management

A person in control of a business or undertaking has a duty to ensure work health and safety by providing and maintaining a safe workplace and safe systems of work.

The Act requires a person in control of a business or undertaking to manage risk by taking reasonably practicable steps:

  • to identify any risk that may be associated with their duty;
  • to eliminate those risks; and
  • if it is not reasonably practicable to eliminate the risk, to minimise each risk.

The 'How to manage Work Health and Safety Risks Code of Practice' sets out a range of measures on how to manage work safety risks in the workplace.

What is reasonably practicable?

The term reasonably practicable means what could reasonably be done at a particular time to ensure health and safety measures are in place. What is reasonable will vary according to the following:

  • the severity of any injury or harm to health that may occur;
  • the likelihood of the injury or harm occurring;
  • how much is known about the hazard and the ways of reducing, removing or controlling it;
  • the availability and suitability of ways to eliminate or minimise the risk;
  • what the duty holder knows or ought reasonably to know about the hazard giving rise to the risk and ways of eliminating or minimising the risk;
  • the cost of eliminating or minimising the risk; and
  • anything else prescribed by regulation.

For more information about the meaning of a reasonably practicable visit the Safe Work Australia website.

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