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Work health and Safety (WHS) in three easy steps

 Work health and safety has been part of the Australian workplace for well over 3 decades. Under the 2012 WHS Work Health and safety Laws, each employee work health and safety obligations to themselves and their workmates.

If you are a supervisor, employer or worker start off with these three words to build into each role in being safer at work - follow, consult, control.

Follow the policies, follow instruction, and follow the WHS Act. At each level in an organisation you can influence how this is done. If you are the Business wonder (PCBU), you can make sure that each person in the business has clarity about their role as written in policies and job descriptions. Ensure that this is reinforced in the training given and the leadership provided to each person in the business.

Consult with workers across the organisation and encourage them to speak up with ideas or concerns that make the workplace safer. There should be a way that allows for all voices to be heard across the organisation. You can consult with your manager, the work health and safety representative or a team leader. Your ability to foster the flow of communication of safety issues and see implemented changes is critical to growing a safety culture.

Control the hazards by stopping to assess the risks that exist in each work environment in the day to day work processes and determine what actions can make it safer. A series of questions can help filter the risk. Ask yourself –

  • Can it be controlled by eliminating the risk completely? Can it be isolated to reduce the exposure?
  • Can it be substituted with some other material or process that reduces the risk?
  • Can it be reengineered to protect workers from the exposure?
  • Can the processes and procedures be altered to modify the behaviour to make it safer?
  • What personal protective equipment can be used to further protect the worker from harm?

As you complete your qualification that helps you understand the strategic aspects of WHS changes (Diploma WHS) or how to implement and lead WHS (Certificate IV in WHS ) your will take your first steps in the change process in Work Health and Safety leadership.

 

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