According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, of the 10.8 million people who worked in the
2005 – 2006 financial year, 6.4% (or 689,500 people) had a work related injury or illness during that period. Work related injuries or illness impact on a workplace and the person concerned in a number of ways including:
Personal anxiety due to loss of wages and/or lifestyle
Pain and suffering caused by accidents or work related illness
Death or disfigurement caused by workplace accidents
Decrease in productivity in the workplace due to shortage of staff
Loss of revenue directly linked to the decrease in productivity
So a very important part of any organisation’s operation is the way in which it deals with the health, safety and security of its staffand customers. It is essential that they develop policies and implement procedures that not only comply with government regulations but also take into account the organisation’s unique situations. It is also very important that all staff within theorganisation follow the correct procedures to avoid injuries or other health and safety hazards.
In order to ensure that WHS is and remains an integral part of every organisation’s practices legislation has been put in place to provide guidance on all matters relating to the health and safety of both workers and visitors of a business. At the time of writing the current regulations are governed by The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and the Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011.
Accidents or injuries can occur at any time in any workplace – but prevention will always be better than cure, so it is imperative that all people within an organisation work in a safe manner at all times.
Workplace health and safety legislation
On January 01, 2012 the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 was introduced along with the Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011. Under this Act the Commonwealth and each state and territory government agreed to harmonise their work health and safety laws so that WHS laws are similar in each jurisdiction. This includes health and safety regulations, codes of practice and guidance material.
Each jurisdiction was required to enact the model health and safety laws through its own legislation and minor, but necessary, variations were allowed to be made to the model laws to ensure consistency with relevant drafting protocols and other laws and processes operating within individual jurisdictions.
In order to comply with the requirements of the WHS Act policies and procedures should be developed within an organisation, that provide staff with guidance on compliance issues and expected behavior and standards.
Matters covered by WHS policies can include (but are not limited to):
Appointment and training of WHS These people are responsible for ensuring that
WHS legislation, policies and procedures are observed
What to do if there is a WHS incident such as accidents, chemical spills, fires
Ways to prevent falls from heights, and objects falling on people
How to safely manage hazardous substances, excessive noise
Availability and maintenance of amenities such as toilets, dining facilities and drinking water (ensuring that there are enough of these facilities to accommodate the number of staff)
First aid requirements
Licensing requirements for a variety of industries – for example any organisation dealing
with food must have ‘HACCP’ certification (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) which deals with hazards involving food and methods of controlling them. Restaurants and bars serving alcohol are also required to hold a ‘LiquorLicense’ prohibiting the sale of alcohol to people under 18 years of age.