Whether you are an employer or an employee, you are probably wondering who is responsible for health and safety in the workplace. In this Business Kitz blog, we will provide an overview of occupational health and safety regulations and who is responsible for enforcing them in the workplace.
What is work health and safety?
Work health and safety (WHS), often known as occupational health and safety (OH&S), is the management of threats to everyone’s health and safety in the workplace. This encompasses the health and safety of your employees, customers, visitors, and suppliers.
In 2011, a national Work Health and Safety Act was developed with two goals; eliminating hazards and reducing risks to the greatest extent possible. In Australia, each state has its own WHS legislation. The WHS framework in each state includes legislation, rules, a code of conduct, and the regulating agency.
The hazards in the workplace determine the WHS regulations for your company. You can find more information about your industry WHS standard on government industry information pages. If you are unsure, it is often advisable to receive independent advice on the WHS requirements for your business.
Who is responsible for health and safety in the workplace?
The short answer is: everyone. Everyone is responsible for their health and safety at work. Your employer is responsible for ensuring that the workplace is safe and that your health and safety are not at risk. Employers have both the right but the responsibility to ensure coworkers and themselves are safe.
What are your responsibilities and rights?
The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Cth) requires your company to establish and maintain a safe and healthy working environment. However, employees are responsible for taking adequate precautions by following the established health and safety instructions from their employer. Moreover, they must take care of the health and safety of people who may be affected by what they do or do not do.
Employers must implement health and safety measures as soon as they begin their business. To ensure health and safety employees must ensure:
- they create a safe working environment where facilities are well-maintained and of acceptable quality;
- the safe use, handling, and storage of machines, structures, and substances;
- they provide personnel with any information, training, instruction, or supervision required for safety; and
- they keep an eye on worker health and working conditions, maintain an injury log, and establish a worker’s compensation policy and a return to work plan.
Employees have the right to work in a safe environment, with safe machinery and structures, as well as a workplace that offers the necessary information, training, teaching, and supervision.
What are the benefits of WHS in the workplace?
Although it is a legal need to create a safe working environment, having a WHS plan is advantageous as it helps to retain people and improve employee productivity, in addition to reducing workplace injury and sickness, reducing the cost of injuries and worker’s compensation.
To ensure your workplace complies with the current regulations, we suggest developing and implementing a WHS plan. As a business owner, you must set regulations and procedures that guide your employees on how they should conduct themselves while performing their duties to protect themselves and their co-workers from injury and harm and to remain compliant with relevant legislation.
Business Kitz offers a comprehensive and high-quality WHS Policy template, via our Subscription Plan. Lastly, if you are unsure about WHS legislation the friendly team at our sister company, Legal Kitz are here to help! You can book a free 30-minute consultation with their experienced and highly qualified team via our website now.