22 Feb 2016
As a business owner or operator, you need to know how to deal with situations that may affect the well-being of your employees.
Before you get carried away with all the fun of paperwork and protocols, you need to think about obtaining an OHS Certificate (otherwise known as a Work Health and Safety Certificate).
The Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety is now the minimum requirement for work health and safety management in most Australian workplaces. So, if you still aren’t convinced to take the course, you should be now.
If you are responsible for work health and safety (WHS) in your workplace, you need to have this OH&S Certificate in the bag. Upon completion, you will be competent in complying with current legislation, identifying workplace hazards and controlling risks.
Although all in the same vein, each state and territory in Australia has its own work health and safety agencies, each outlining industry-specific WHS requirements. Legal obligations of employees vary according to circumstance, so if you’re not sure where you stand, independent legal advice is the way to go.
On the path of justice, the OHS Certificate holder is also required to notify your State or Territory agency with an incident report should any accident take place within your working environment.
Just as you’d expect not to be smacked in the face with coat hangers in the shopping mall, so too should your workers expect not to be injured in their working environment. The responsibility of care falls on you to ensure adequate measures of care are put into place.
Part of your responsibility is to teach employees the do’s and don’ts when it comes to workplace safety. You need to ensure Warehouse Joe knows his way around the floor and that the forklift will stay firmly grounded while he’s behind the wheel. This usually comes in the form of training days, procedure manuals, protective work wear and signage plastering the wall.
Complying with these responsibilities not only puts your OH&S Certificate to good use but can prevent you from being prosecuted and fined (always handy) and also helps in retaining skilled staff.
Alas, everyone at work is protected by a set of basic legal rights (aka workers’ rights), protecting them from exploitation and unfair treatment. Part and parcel of these rights, which range from wages to annual leave, is ensuring that workers are in a safe work environment.
Workers have the right to step foot into their workplace and not be faced with a cocktail of disasters waiting to happen. Your workers also have OHS responsibilities to uphold – namely, that they can’t intentionally endanger the lives of others in the workplace.
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