Important points to note concerning OHS
The following general points apply:
- Effective OHS policies and procedures are needed for legal requirements and to promote OHS good practice generally.
- Commitment to OHS in the workplace can only be generated by involving everyone in the process. This commitment must be driven by management — successful health and safety strategies are dependent on management involvement, and most significantly, demonstrated leadership.
- There is a legal requirement in each State in Australia to provide training in occupational health and safety.
- There are countless hazards in the workplace. Managing OHS involves identifying, eliminating or controlling these hazards.
- Risk management is essential for all businesses, regardless of their size. It involves identifying the hazards and then developing a plan to eliminate, isolate or minimise them.
- Consultation is an important — and in some States, mandatory — aspect of managing health and safety. Employers should consult with all stake-holders over how risks are managed.
- Requirements for first aid kits and facilities are set out in OHS regulations, advisory standards and codes of practice around Australia.
- Periodic checks: The types of OHS-related activities that should be periodically checked include polices, procedures, management audit of OHS system performance, physical OHS inspections, consultation on OHS with employees, checking of injury register, workstation ergonomics, first aid kits and PPE, training of first aid officers and reviewing any legislation that has changed.
State and federal government websites can assist you with materials and advice in complying with OHS and workers' responsibilities.
Your business — what documents do you need?
Unlike many other employment-related matters, OHS is not usually covered in Contracts of Employment or in Awards or Agreements.
However, note that a Contract of Employment contains an implied term that the employer will not act negligently towards its employees. An implied term is an unwritten one.
The main categories of documents which you will use in relation to OHS and Workers Compensation are as follows:
- OHS policy(ies)
A list of the documents in each of these categories is as follows:
- Bullying policy
- Drug and alcohol policy
- Emergency evacuation policy and procedure
- First-aid policy
- Non-smoking policy
- WHS general policy
- Protective clothing and equipment policy