Effective Work Health Safety management in a workplace requires strong leadership and a commitment from everyone to make the workplace as safe as it can be. To do this successfully people need to understand their responsibilities and how they can meet them. A written policy that is simple and developed by the business owner, in consultation with the workers, will go a long way to achieving this. A policy should:
- Note the duties and responsibilities of all parties.
- State the commitment to improving WHS and consider how best to achieve a safe workplace.
- Be dated and signed by the owner and displayed at the workplace.
- Be accessible to all workers.
- Be reviewed from time to time.
Business owners must consult with workers about WHS issues. Effective consultation encourages greater awareness of issues and can lead to an improved safety culture and outcomes. Consultation can occur through WHS committees, meetings or toolbox talks. General WHS information can be delivered through briefings, noticeboards, emails or newsletters.
The best way to prevent injuries or illness in your workplace is to find the hazards that could injure people and fix them. A good starting point is the S A F E approach to hazard management.
Spot the hazard – find anything that could cause injury, illness or damage.
Assess the risk – determine the likelihood that a hazard may cause an injury, illness or death.
Fix it Early – prevention is the key. Take action to fix identified risks by trying to eliminate the
hazard first or, if this is not possible, find ways to minimise it. Make sure that control measures you use to reduce the risk do not create new hazards or increase the risk of existing ones. Finding safety solutions can be as simple as asking your workers for their ideas, looking at information available from designers or manufacturers, getting help from a consultant, or considering relevant Codes of Practice or Australian Standards.
Informing training and supervising
Inform and train your workers about particular job hazards and the workplace more generally as well as the safe work procedures you use to manage hazards in your business. Make sure that new workers are correctly inducted and supervised. Ensure you plant and equipment have Safe Operating Procedures and Risk Assessments with the risks being controlled.
Maintaining a safe workplace
Maintaining a safe workplace can be achieved by carrying out regular Workplace Inspections. Maintaining workplace equipment and tools in good condition ensuring employees do not remove guarding from equipment. Providing workers with easy to understand information and training on how to do their job safely. Having an incident injury reporting process that employees are encouraged to use. With the Employer following up with investigations and corrective actions when necessary. Planning for emergencies e.g. fire, medical, robbery or chemical leaks.
Keeping records of your WHS activities will help you to monitor the health and safety
performance of your business as well as meet your legal requirements.
You will need to keep the following records for:
- Incidents and injuries, including near misses.
- Hazardous chemicals and asbestos register (if they are present at your workplace).
- Plant registration documents.
- Tests, maintenance, inspection and other records for specific types of plant.
- Hazard identification, risk assessment and control processes.
- Maintenance of all plant and equipment including work vehicles.
Monitoring, reviewing and improving
Managing Work Health Safety is an ongoing process. Be aware that your safety processes, operations and workers may change over time and so can the risks. After you have established your WHS management system you should regularly review (Audit) and monitor how effective it is, and make any necessary adjustments to keep it up to date.
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