Playing the Work Health & Safety Game - A Must Win Endeavour

We here in Australia appear to be doing very well in handling the Covid 19 situation. Compared to most other countries we have very low incidence and fatality rates. Victoria is now doing well and for 17 days straight they have had zero incidences of Covid 19 and zero fatalities. Thank goodness. Fine for us but not great for most members of the human family in other areas of the world.


In Australia, sports enthusiasts are revelling in the high level of activity and competition in our sports. We are moving closer to normal sporting freedoms. For example, the Queensland government has announced that it is permitting the next State of Origin rugby league game (18/11/20) to be played in Suncorp Stadium with up to 49,750 fans in attendance.


This news led us to consider the similarities between a sports team playing a very important deciding game and employees working in their workplace. A few of those similarities are set out below and you can probably think of more;

  • Having a goal and everyone working towards achieving that goal. (In a workplace that goal might be expressed as - achieving a safe and healthy workplace with risks eliminated or minimised so far as reasonably practicable.)

  • Everyone working with a strong intention to achieve the goal.

  • Everyone knows what part they are playing in the game and what every other team member is doing.

  • Everyone in the team trained in what they have to do to make the team successful; knowing what to do, being able to do that, and always playing in accordance with the actions and moves they have been trained to do and playing as a team member.

Maintaining effective risk controls and reviewing risk controls is very dependent on teamwork in your workplace - Managers, Supervisors, Team Leaders, HSRSs, Health & Safety Committee members, Workers and Others. And of course, the PCBU and its Officers. They all have an important part to play and have a legal duty or role under the WHS Act to play their part.


You may find it useful to consider whether there are any players or areas in your team that could be improved. Are they suitably trained to take effective and appropriate action? How can that be done?


If you research a number of WHS prosecutions you will usually find that a workplace fatality or injury happened because;

  • the hierarchy of control measures was not used, or

  • it was only partially used, or

  • it was used but the risk controls were not always applied.



Playing the Work Health & Safety Game
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18th November 2020

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Courtenell Pty Ltd

as Trustee for the Vowles Family Trust

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