Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) is a term used to describe the steps taken to protect employees, customers / clients, contractors, visitors or any other people associated with a business premises, workplace or service. Formerly known as Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S), WHS involves continually assessing a physical business location or their practices and standards to ensure that everything complies to a number of standards and obligations set out by Safe Work Australia and their policies.
All Australian businesses are legally required to comply with WHS legislation, which includes:
• Providing a safe business premises
• Ensure security risks are mitigated
• Continuously assess their business and its practices for safety and security risks
• Implement measures for promoting safety and controlling risks
• Ensuring that all employees are aware of their own WHS obligations and conform to them
• Ensure machinery and materials are safe, safely maintained and used correctly
• Ensure goods and substances are handled and used safely
• Ensure workplace layout and work systems are safe
• Ensure a safe and suitable work environment is maintained
• Ensure facilities are safe and suitable
• Keep insurance and worker’s compensation policies are kept up to date and relevant
Your WHS obligations will vary based on the industry or circumstances you are in, so it’s always important to seek independent advice on this before implementing WHS features. While some of the requirements of complying with WHS standards may – at times – seem over the top or excessively expensive to implement, there are many benefits to keeping your workplace and work practices safe. These benefits include:
• A minimised risk of injury or illness in the workplace or business premises
• A reduction in public liability claims
• A lower cost of worker’s compensation
• A higher staff retention
• An increase in employee productivity
• A decrease in loss from security concerns
Business owners are legally compelled to ensure their business complies with these national standards and mitigates any risks at all time, as not doing so can result in heavy penalties. Because of this, it’s very important to become familiar with your obligations as soon as you begin your business, so that you’re not breaking the law or opening yourself up to injury to people, damage to your business or associated costs.
Who to contact in regards to WHS
The WHS legislation that will apply to your business is enforced by Safe Work Australia and the WHS authorities in your state or territory. You can find contact information for your state or territory regulator on the Safe Work Australia site. These organisations are able to advise you on WHS regulations and legislature, show you the steps you’ll need to take to keep your workplace safe, as well as provide licensing and education/training to you and your employees. It’s also a great idea to study some of the industry-specific information on Safe Work Australia’s WHS Information page for tips about how you can best comply with WHS standards. For security-specific WHS advice, contact the professionals at Calamity to discuss which steps you can take to keep your business, employees and customers safe from security threats!
For more information on creating a secure workplace and for information on exciting new tools that can assist you in WHS compliance please click here.