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How to Achieve a Safe and Healthy Workplace
Everyone in your workplace has a WHS duty. If all those duty holders satisfy their WHS legal duty you will have a safe and healthy workplace.
However, this ideal state is not yet achieved in all Australian workplaces. Fatalities, serious and other workplace injuries still occur in many workplaces (particularly in the Transport, Postal & Warehousing; Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing; Construction; Mining; and, Manufacturing Industries), for example the Safe Work Australia Notifiable Fatalities November 2014 Monthly Report tells us there were 213 work related deaths from January to November 2014.
A Key Factor in Workplace Incidents
Managers and Supervisors have a vital role in helping to ensure a safe and healthy workplace by preventing workplace incidents. They do the actions that should result in the satisfaction of the PCBU's duty of care to ensure the health and safety of workers.
When you analyse a workplace incident you usually find that a key factor in that incident was that one or more Managers or Supervisors did not carry out the actions that would have resulted in the satisfaction of the PCBU's duty of care (ie. the reasonably practicable actions that would ensure the health and safety of workers).
And a common reason for this lack of required action is those Managers and Supervisors were not provided with the “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)). See a summary of training that may be required under the WHS Act.
Managers, Supervisors, and other workers 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
A safe and healthy workplace can be achieved by all duty holders satisfying the requirements of their duty of care
Managers and Supervisors have a key role to play in achieving a safe and healthy workplace
A lack of information, instruction, training and supervision is a common factor in workplace incidents.