Workplace Safety Compliance

Australian workplaces are covered by (among others) work health and safety, electrical safety, and other legislation. To achieve Workplace Safety Compliance, you need to ensure the safety of your workers and others affected by your work.

You can show that you are compliant by having an effective safety management system.

In its simplest form, a Safety Management System is a set of linked policies and procedures for Work Health and Safety in your business. A good safety management system can keep you and your workers safe and healthy, improve customer perception and may help you win tenders. It should suit your business needs and include information that you will use and understand.

Work Health and Safety (WHS) legislation requires that all foreseeable hazards are identified and the risks arising from these hazards are eliminated or controlled.
It is just as important to managing the Health and Safety risks within your business as it is to manage any other aspect of your activities.

Legislation and Standards

WHS Regulations

The WHS Regulations specify the way in which some duties under the WHS Act must be met and prescribes procedural or administrative requirements to support the WHS Act (for example requiring licences for specific activities and the keeping of records).

Codes of Practice

Codes of Practice provide practical guidance on how to meet the requirements set out in the WHS Act and the WHS Regulations. Codes of Practice are admissible in proceedings as evidence of whether a duty under the WHS laws has been met. They can also be referred to by an inspector when issuing an improvement or prohibition notice.
It is recognised that equivalent or better ways of achieving the required work health and safety outcomes may be possible. For that reason, compliance with Codes of Practice is not mandatory providing that any other method used provides an equivalent or higher standard of work health and safety than suggested by the Code of Practice. 

Interpretive Guidelines

Interpretive guidelines are a formal statement on how WHS regulators believe key concepts in the WHS Act operate and in doing so provide an indication of how the laws will be enforced.

Australian Standards

Standards are voluntary documents that set out specifications, procedures and guidelines that aim to ensure products, services, and systems are safe, consistent, and reliable.

They cover a variety of subjects, including consumer products and services, the environment, construction, energy and water utilities, and more.
To ensure they keep pace with new technologies, standards are regularly reviewed by Standards Australia technical committees.

There are three categories of standards:

  1. International Standards
    These are developed by ISO, IEC, and ITU for countries to adopt for national use. Standards Australia embraces the development and adoption of international standards.
  2. Regional Standards
    These are prepared by a specific region, such as the European Union’s EN standards, or joint Australian/New Zealand standards.
    3. National Standards
    These are developed either by a national standards body (like Standards Australia) or other accredited bodies. Any standards developed under the Australian Standard® name have been created in Australia or are adoptions of international or other standards.

Your safety management system

It is essential to see where your business currently stands in relation to its Safety Documentation. This step will enable you to develop a plan on how to effectively develop and implement your Safety Management System and achieve Workplace Safety Compliance. 

The hazards that exist in each workplace will differ and as such, this guide focuses on the overall management of safety which applies to every workplace, rather than addressing specific hazards.

You must ensure that you have a good understanding of the hazards that exist in your workplace. A hazard is anything that can lead to injury or harm to health

To ensure the success of a Safety Management System, a commitment to WHS must be demonstrated.

Commitment can be demonstrated by:

  • Ensuring adequate resources are allocated to WHS Management
  • Consultation with workers, and ensuring they are part of decision making relating to WHS
  • Ensuring Workers have appropriate training, skills and knowledge to perform their jobs
  • Ensuring workers understand their WHS responsibilities
  • Leading by example!

OHS Compliance Solutions can help you implement a safety management system for your business; we have also developed a handy tool for assisting you assess and implement the beginnings of a Safety Management System – our Workplace Safety Guide.  Reach out to us if you would like a copy. 



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