How can you keep your workers safe?
Managers and Supervisors have to deal with this issue every day in their workplace – keeping the employees and others in their area of responsibility and control, safe and healthy.
The steps that Managers and Supervisors need to take in their workplace to achieve a safe and healthy workplace are;
Know the risks to health and safety in their area of the workplace
Know how those risks should be managed
Understand their duty of care as set out in the WHS Act
Understand what they need to do to contribute to the PCBU’s duty of care and comply with instructions they receive about this.
Take the appropriate actions to comply with their duty of care and contribute to the PCBU’s duty of care in accordance with the level of responsibility and control they have been given by their employer.
The PCBU’s Duty of Care
The WHS Act (Section 19) requires that the PCBU must ensure as far as reasonably practicable, the health and safety of everyone in their workplace.
This is the PCBU’s primary duty of care but Managers and Supervisors are key persons in making this a reality.
For example, all Managers and Supervisors are involved to a greater or lesser extent in, “the provision of any information, training, instruction or supervision that is necessary to protect all persons from risks to their health and safety arising from work carried out as part of the conduct of the business or undertaking,” (WHS Act Section 19 (f)).
Depending on the nature of your business, your workers will require information or instruction, training and supervision in matters such as:
hazardous manual tasks
bullying, discrimination and harassment policies
health effects of noise exposure
your accident and emergency procedures
handling hazardous chemicals
correct use of personal protective equipment (PPE)
how to safely operate equipment and machinery
high-risk activities, e.g. working at heights
working in confined spaces
work that requires specific qualifications or licensing to perform
your health and safety policies
any other policies, procedures and practices that apply to your workplace
And also, Managers and Supervisors need to know what the risks are in their area of the workplace and how they must be handled so that they can contribute
to other essentials of the PCBU’s duty of care such as the establishment and
“safe systems of work”, and
“safe plant and structures”, and
“a work environment without risk to health and safety”
Managers and Supervisors Duty of Care
As shown in Section 28 of the WHS Act Managers and Supervisors must:
take reasonable care for their own health & safety
take reasonable care not to adversely affect the health & safety of other persons
comply, so far as reasonably able, with any reasonable instruction that is given by the PCBU to allow the person to comply with this Act
co-operate with any reasonable policy or procedure of the PCBU relating to health or safety at the workplace that they have been notified of
Take Appropriate Actions
You will probably find that taking appropriate actions as described in Step 5 is
easier than it perhaps looks. Most large workplaces have an established WHS
Management System with policies and procedures that cover health and safety
issues in your area of work. Implementing and maintaining workplace policies
and procedures is one of the key points in your WHS duty of care.
Where necessary you can look for resources from sources such as the
SafeWork NSW website and see the guidance material and Codes of Practice
that they have on the WHS issues you are dealing with.
You are welcome to download and distribute the article in your workplace if you feel it may be useful