Workplace health and safety incidents can have a devastating impact on injured workers, their families and co-workers, and the organisation. A safe workplace is essential, and employers must abide by their duty of care to employees under all work health and safety laws.
Businesses, both large and small, must ensure the health and safety of workers engaged by it, as far as reasonably practicable. This generally extends to an organisation’s employees, contractors, outworkers, apprentices, trainees, work experience students, volunteers, and visitors.
Managing risk in the workplace
To effectively manage and reduce risk, workplace systems and processes must achieve optimum health and safety standards. Consideration must be given to issues such as:
- ensuring a safe working environment and safe work practices, which includes the identification of health and safety hazards;
- providing adequate and accessible facilities;
- ensuring emergency plans are in place and made known to workers;
- managing risks associated with contaminants, flammables, combustibles, slips, falls, and risks associated with falling objects;
- checking equipment to ensure it is properly functioning and maintained, and replacing defective items;
- identifying new or persistent risks and implementing systems to control these; and
- educating all participants in the workplace about health and safety.
It is important that both employers and employees understand their obligations in upholding the health and safety of the workplace.
Health and safety legislation is administered by state regulators responsible for prosecuting breaches and investigating serious incidents and workplace fatalities. These bodies also play a role in improving workplace health and safety standards and provide education and guidance to employers to assist them in meeting their legal obligations.
A breach of a work health and safety law could result in breach of contract, a payout, government investigation, and/or enforcement action. Preparing for a work health and safety investigation and responding to a lawsuit can be intrusive, disruptive, and daunting.
We have over 10 years of industry experience, so working with employment lawyers, such as DKL, helps businesses proactively protect their workers, reduce the risk of loss and injury, maintain high standards of compliance, and minimise corporate and individual liability, to keep their workplaces optimised.
If you are an employee, and do not feel your needs are being protected at the office, worksite, or warehouse, get in touch to better understand where you stand – and what can be done to make you feel safe again.
If you are an employer and need help to understand your obligations or to proactively manage your workplace, contact us for assistance.