Workplace Health and Safety obligations for businesses can be overwhelming and at times confusing. WH&S legislation differs from State to State and under legislation all people and companies who conduct a business or undertaking (PCBU) have a responsibility for WH&S.
Penalties for WH&S offences are very high, and rightly so. For Category 1 offences under Queensland legislation, corporations can be fined up to $3million, individuals (PCBU) or officers can be fined up to $600,000 or jailed for up to 5 years, individual (workers) can be fined up to $300,000 or jailed for up to 5 years!
So, how do you navigate through the minefield of WH&S to understand your responsibilities and how to fulfil them? Here are some stepping stones for you …
Top 6 responsibilities for employers under Australian WH&S legislation:
- provide a safe and healthy workplace for all workers and other people (general public) who attend the workplace;
- work systems that are safe and without risk to health;
- training of workers to work in a safe and competent manner;
- take steps to prevent injury, illness and disease;
- consult with employees and their representatives over WH&S matters;
- provisions for workplace inspectors to visit workplaces, investigate accidents and enforce provisions of the legislation.
Top 6 ways employers can fulfil their WH&S responsibilities:
- identifying, assessing and controlling (by removal, isolation, substitution or risk reduction) all potential hazards and risks at the workplace – this includes work processes and work systems and is widely referred to as ‘risk management;’
- developing and issuing WH&S policies that promote safe practices generally and encourage a ‘safety culture’ at work; and
- proper training of all workers, including advice, information, education and formal training;
- adequate supervision;
- safe and appropriate work equipment;
- regular inspections and audits of the workplace, preferably in consultation with employees.
To help build a path through the WH&S minefield, Harrison Human Resources can provide your organisation with a WH&S Health Check. This review assists in saving your employees from any risks of injury, and minimises your company’s exposure to fines and penalties.
Harrison Human Resources conducts its WH&S Health checks with the following steps:
- An on-site visit by a Work Health and Safety Consultant to your workplace.
- The consultant will do a walk-through of your site to review your housekeeping status.
- With the consultant, the WH&S Health Check is completed to assist in identifying the gaps in your compliance with WH&S legislation across nine key areas including; Safety Leadership and Culture, Emergency Management, Reporting and Evaluation, Risk Management and more.
- A desktop review of key WH&S documents to further establish the status of your work health and safety system.
- A report identifying the gaps in your WH&S compliance and ways to meet legislative requirements.
We hope the path to WH&S compliance looks clearer. Contact Harrison Human Resources for more information on a WH&S Health check for your organisation.
Claire Harrison is the Founder and Managing Director of Harrison Human Resources, a flourishing HR consulting business that sprouted in 2009 from Claire’s passionate belief that inspiring leaders and superstar employees are the key success factor to any business. With over 20 years’ experience, Claire has worked as a HR Director of multi-national organisations, as a Non-Executive Board Director, and a small business owner. Claire’s corporate career includes working with companies such as BHP, Westpac, Fonterra and Mayne Nickless.