A safe and healthy workplace should be the goal of every employer/PCBU (persons conducting a business undertaking). The WHS rules and regulations require all PCBU to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, that workers are not injured or harmed at work.
As a business owner, you are obligated to comply with the relevant workplace health and safety regulations in your field. PCBU who do not meet their WHS responsibilities may face severe penalties including fines and possible jail time as well as increased compensation claims.
PCBU must adhere to the WHS acts, regulations and codes of practice in their state or territory. Generally, their WHS responsibilities involve:
Duty of care
PCBU are required to regularly assess and monitor employee working conditions. This aids early identification of hazards allowing for the implementation of appropriate safety procedures. Control measures should range from a change in job duties, the introduction of safer equipment, to the provision of safety gear to workers.
Provision of adequate information and training
Providing adequate information and supervision can help minimise injuries and accidents in the workplace. Employees should be made aware of their WHS requirements as well as their rights including workers’ compensation and safe Return to Work. It’s the PCBU’s responsibility to ensure that all workers who may be affected by the hazards are familiar with the necessary health and safety measures or procedures before commencing work. PCBU are also required to provide WHS induction and on-job training to workers to familiarise them with what to do in the event of an accident or injury.
Duty to consult
WHS laws require employers to consult with all other workplace parties in the management of workplace risks, in order to protect the health and safety of workers and others who might be at risk from the work. Co-operating with employees can help improve the success of your WHS initiatives and must always be done especially when implementing new safety procedures or any other changes relevant to WHS.
Responsibility to others
Employers have a legal duty to ensure that persons other than their workers are not exposed to risks while in the workplace. This covers anything the employer himself, the business or an employee might do and aims to protect contractors, customers and visitors, work experience students and any other people at the workplace.
On receiving a report about an injury or accident, PCBU are required to investigate the matter and decide on a course of action within a reasonable time. The affected worker should then be notified of the decision as soon as possible and an injury management plan developed. This should be done in agreement with the PCBU and the insurer.
Once the worker starts to recover, you should, in consultation with the worker and if possible, a Return to Work (RTW) coordinator help the injured worker return to suitable duties as soon as possible.
PCBU must be able to show they have exercised due diligence in attempting to meet health and safety obligations by taking reasonable precautions to protect the health, safety and welfare of all employees. The management should acquire up-to-date knowledge of the WHS legislation, codes of practice and support material. They should also be aware of the latest work health and safety management standards and practices in their field.
The WHS regulations requires that employers notify WHS regulators if a serious incident occurs at the workplace. Such an incident can include death, critical injuries, dangerous occurrences such as the failure of an excavation, the collapse of a building, spillage or leakage of chemical substances among other related workplace issues. The employer must ensure that the site where the incident occurred is not disturbed until either an inspector arrives at the site unless the intervention is aimed at making the site safe or to prevent a further occurrence.
This should be done immediately after the employer becomes aware of any incident that could result in death or a serious injury. The immediate notification can be made through a telephone call but a formal notification in writing should be made within the next 48 hours. To find out more on incident reporting you can click here for more information.
Keeping health records
Recording keeping is an important part of every safety system and WHS requires employers to keep workers health records as well as any other relevant safety documentations.
According to the WHS Act, employers must do everything they reasonably can to protect the health and safety of their workers.
At Recovery Partners, we can help you meet all your WHS obligations and improve the health and safety of your workers. For more information, you can contact us here.
Alternatively, our consultants love to have a chat, so go ahead and give us a call on 1300 OHS RTW (647 789).
Disclaimer – these articles are provided to supply general safety information to people responsible for OHS in their organisation. They are general in nature and do not substitute for legal and/or professional advice. We always suggest that organisations obtain information specific to their needs. Additional information can be found at www.workcover.nsw.au
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