Regardless of their company’s size, business owners are liable for their worker’s safety and well-being while on the job. Apart from being a legal requirement, employers who follow this obligation benefit from increased employee commitment and overall engagement.
They can avoid financial losses as a result of compensation and lawsuits. Simply put, occupational accidents or deaths can harm a company’s reputation. There is also the loss of working hours and days, and if a replacement is required, hiring and training costs can add up.
Workplace Health And Safety (WHS) Defined
Work health and safety (WHS) – also known as occupational health and safety (OH&S) – is concerned with the health and safety of workers, following specific Australian standards. It entails managing hazards to anybody’s health & welfare in your workplace. This encompasses the health and safety of your employees, customers, visitors, and suppliers.
Implementing safety precautions and installing safety equipment may be time-consuming and cost quite a bit at first, but it’s pivotal to the growth of your business. Failure to act may also result in lawsuits, fines, and the loss of your skilled personnel.
Workers’ compensation laws also necessitate purchasing a workers’ compensation insurance policy for your workers.
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What Employers Need To Do
You must implement health and safety practices as soon as you begin your business. Apart from being a requirement, effectively implementing these could potentially boost production in your business, bringing in more revenue.
According to Australian WHS laws, your company must ensure the health and safety of its employees. You’re expected not to jeopardize the health and safety of others.
To accomplish this, you must:
- Ensure a safe working environment
- Ensure that machinery and structures are safe and that they are kept in good working order
- Provide safe working conditions
- Ensure that machinery and structures are used, handled, and stored in a safe manner
- Provide and maintain sufficient facilities
- Provide any necessary information, onboarding training, guidance, or supervision for safety
- Workers’ health and working conditions are monitored
What Your Employees Must Do
Employees in your company have WHS responsibilities to themselves and others on the job. They are required to:
- Take responsibility for their own health and safety
- Take care not to do anything that might cause harm to others
- Adhere to WHS guidelines
- Adhere to the workplace’s WHS policies and procedures
WHS Regulations In Your State Or Province
Every region or territory has a specific set of WHS laws and a regulator in charge of enforcing them. Each state’s WHS guideline includes the following elements:
- Act – lays out your overall responsibilities.
- Regulations – establishes specific prerequisites for potential dangers and risks like noise pollution, machinery, and manual handling.
- Codes of practice – focuses on providing practical guidance on meeting the Act’s and Regulations’ requirements.
- Regulating agency (regulator) – enforces WHS laws by inspecting workplaces, providing advice, and enforcing the laws. Check out their website for WHS resources and information.
Workers’ compensation is regulated differently in some states, so check what’s covered in your area.
Collaboration With Members Of A Remote Team
As a manager, you are responsible for protecting your employees’ health and safety while they are at work – even if they’re remotely employed.
To cater to your staff members’ work environments, you might have to modify existing policies and procedures. These modifications can help to reduce physiological and mental risks to you and your workers.
When taking the WHS implications of remote working into account, consider the outlined procedures on how to:
- Report any accidents, occurrences, or injuries that occur while working remotely
- Give guidance on what constitutes a healthy home office space
- Enable employees to procure supplies and tools from the office if possible
- Establish effective psychological health and wellness information and support
Some organizations and unions came together to develop these standard safety protocols for workplaces, and their core goal is to protect business owners and their employees. With these in place, one can guarantee a safe and productive work environment.
As such, employers have a responsibility to make sure that these standards are met in order to provide the best space for their hired staff, customers, and themselves.
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