Whether you work as administration in an office, you’re a foreman of a small warehouse or a supervisor on a mine site, workplace health and safety (WHS) affects you.
As experts in the field, we often receive a number of general questions regarding WHS issues and the impact they can have on different organisations. Using the SafeWork Australia guidelines, this week on the Tap Into Safety Blog we have put together some of the most Frequently Asked Questions we receive to help you better understand your responsibilities and some strategies you can use.
Who is responsible for WHS?
No matter what industry you’re in or what type of business you’re running, everyone within the workplace is responsible for workplace health and safety. SafeWork Australia categorises people working within a business as:
- The Person Conducting Business or Undertaking (PCBU)
- Other persons at the workplace
According to Safework Australia, everyone in the above list have a varying degree of responsibility for WHS.
What is my responsibility for WHS?
Each individual within a business has a different level of WHS responsibility depending on their position within the company. The PCBU is responsible to ensure the health and safety of its workers and to ensure people are not put at risk as a result of carrying out their work. Officers within the workplace need to exercise due diligence to ensure that the PCBU complies with its duties.
If you are an employee or worker at a workplace you also have a responsibility regarding WHS. Your duty is to take reasonable care for your own safety and to ensure your own actions do not negatively impact the health and safety of others. Even people who are visiting your workplace have a responsibility to WHS. Similar to workers, other persons at the workplace are responsible for their own safety and to ensure their actions do not adversely affect the health and safety of others.
In short, safety is everyone’s business!
What is the cost of poor safety practice?
Poor safety practice in the work place not only has a financial cost, but can also have an emotional and physical impact on all parties involved. Work-related injuries, illnesses and fatalities impose a direct cost on the business and individual, but they also have a cost to the wider community, particularly when it comes to rehabilitation. Safe Work Australia suggest that there are direct and indirect costs
- Direct costs such as workers’ compensation premiums paid by employers or payments to injured workers
- Indirect costs include loss of productivity, loss of current and future earnings, lost potential output and the cost of social welfare programs for those who need them in their recovery and rehabilitation
What is the difference between a hazard and a risk?
Safework Australia defines a hazard as “a situation or thing that has the potential to harm a person”, while it describes a risk as “the possibility that harm – death, injury or illness – might occur when exposed to a hazard”.
How important are training records in proving compliance?
The short answer to this question is very important. In the event that a serious incident or workplace fatality occurs, particularly where a court case or hearing in the coroner’s court is required, sufficient training records are imperative in proving compliance. For more information on this topic, check out our blog post from earlier this year, How Critical are Training Records in Proving Safety Compliance.
What can an employer do to prove WHS compliance?
The best thing you can do as an employer to prove WHS compliance is to ensure all employees are receiving regular training and understanding the content. It is important that you keep up to date, and in-depth, training records on the training that has been completed.
Inductions should be run when a new em[ployee starts with a business and refreshed on an annual or bi-annual basis. This will help ensure that employees know and understand what their safety responsibilities are, and how to keep themselves and others within the workplace, safe.
It’s important that as an employer you ensure your safety training has an assessment that proves your employee’s ongoing knowledge and competence. It should also highlight areas for improvement for each individual employee. These assessments then need to be documented and attached to an employee’s training records.
How can we use data to improve our business?
Data is an important tool to assist in improving your business – how can something be fixed unless you have the data that shows you there is a problem or a concern? There are a number of ways data can be used to improve safety performance. Collecting data allows you to find safety knowledge gaps within your organisation. Analysing this leading data can then assist you to predict where an incident is likely to occur. From here, you can take actions to minimise the risk of these incidents occurring in the future.
How does Tap Into Safety help workplace health and safety?
The Tap Into Safety Training Platform uses an organisation’s existing workplace health and safety data to build individualised, interactive and immersive hazard perception training content. It complements existing workplace training via a simple URL integration on existing training platforms, or portals.
The reporting features in the Platform drill down to show knowledge of workplace hazards situated within the employee’s work context and provides detailed gaps in their understanding of the control and critical control measures required to keep them safe. This level of detail clearly demonstrates an employee’s knowledge and ongoing competence. Our simple API integration fits into the organisations learning management systems and training record repositories. This immediately ensures ongoing documentation is stored within the employee’s training records.
For more information regarding Tap Into Safety and the services we have available to assist your business better implement its WHS training, feel free to contact us today. We also offer an obligation free demo of our platform, so why not try it for yourself?