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Keeping Your Workplace Safe & Healthy

Weekly WHS Article 20th May 2021

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.

Managers & Supervisors

Section 19 is the PCBU’s primary duty of care but the PCBU delegates authority to Managers, Supervisors and others to carry out actions that will result in a safe and healthy workplace.

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:

  • consultation

  • risk management

  • first aid

  • 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

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 maintenance of;

  • “safe systems of work”, and

  • “safe plant and structures”, and

  • “a work environment without risk to health and safety”

Managers and Supervisors have to deal with these issues every day in their workplace – carrying out those actions in their area of authority and control that will help to keep workers and others safe and healthy – and ensuring that every person that they supervise follows the systems established for them and takes “reasonable care” of the health and safety of themselves and others.

Steps to Achieve a Safe & Healthy Workplace

The steps that Managers and Supervisors need to take in their workplace to help achieve a safe and healthy workplace include;

  • Know the risks to health and safety in their area of the workplace

  • Know how those risks should be managed

  • Understand the duties of workers as set out in Section 28 of the WHS Act

  • Understand why and what they need to do to use the authority given to them by the PCBU and comply with instructions they receive about this.

  • Take the appropriate actions to comply with their duties as set out in Section 28 of the WHS Act and carry out those actions that are in accordance with the authority they have been given by their employer.

Keeping Your Workplace Safe & Healthy
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19th May 2021


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