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Student

Book

B USINES S CO LL E G E
B USINES S
CO LL E G E

CertifiCate ii

CuStomer engagement

Contribute to health and safety of self and others

BSBWHS201 CourSe Code
BSBWHS201
CourSe Code

Student Workbook

BSBWHS201 Contribute to health and safety of self and others

Part of a suite of support materials for the BSB Business Services Training Package Copyright

Part of a suite of support materials for the

BSB Business Services Training Package

Copyright and Trade Mark Statement

© 2015 Innovation and Business Industry Skills Council Ltd

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Published by: Innovation and Business Industry

Skills Council Ltd Level 11 176 Wellington Pde East Melbourne VIC 3002 Phone: +61 3 9815 7000 Fax: +61 3 9815 7001 Email:

First published: July 2015

1st edition version: 1

Release date: July 2015

reception@ibsa.org.au

ISBN: 978-1-925328-88-2

Stock code: BSBWHS2011D

Table of Contents

Contents

BSB Business Services Training Package

1

Table of Contents

2

Introduction

4

Features of the training program

4

Structure of the training program

4

Recommended reading

4

Section 1 Work Safely

7

What skills will you need?

7

Know the law

8

Identify organisational WHS policies and procedures

11

Participate in safety training and induction

15

Follow safe work procedures and processes

16

Follow emergency procedures

23

Section summary

27

Further reading

27

Section checklist

27

Section 2 Follow Work Safety Requirements

28

What skills will you need?

28

Identify designated persons

29

Identify hazards

30

Report and record hazards

39

Conduct safety inspections or audits

41

Report incidents

44

Identify WHS duty holders

45

Section summary

48

Further reading

48

Section checklist

48

Section 3 Participate in Consultation

49

What skills will you need?

49

Participate in consultation

50

Assess risk

55

Take action: Eliminate or control risk

59

Section summary

65

Further reading

65

Section checklist

66

Glossary

67

Appendices

72

Appendix 1: Ace Accounting

72

Appendix 2: Ace Accounting organisational structure and WHS structure

73

Appendix 3: Ace Accounting WHS policy

74

Appendix 4: Ace Accounting evacuation procedure

76

Appendix 5: Ace Accounting manual lifting procedure

77

Appendix 6: Incident report

78

Appendix 7: Safety inspection checklist

83

Appendix 8: Risk register

87

Appendix 9: Answers to selected activities

88

Introduction

Features of the training program

The key features of this program are:

Student Workbook Self-paced learning activities to help you to develop an understanding of key concepts and terms. The Student Workbook is broken down into several sections.

Facilitator-led sessions Challenging and interesting learning activities that can be completed in the classroom or by distance learning that will help you consolidate and apply what you have learned in the Student Workbook.

Assessment tasks Summative assessments where you can apply your new skills and knowledge to solve authentic workplace tasks and problems.

Structure of the training program

This training program introduces you to skills and knowledge that will help you apply health and safety law to your work. You will grow skills and knowledge in the following topic areas:

1. Work safely

2. Follow work safety requirements

3. Participate in WHS consultation.

Your facilitator may choose to combine or split sessions. For example, in some cases, this training program may be delivered in two or three sessions, or in others, as many as eight sessions.

Recommended reading

Some recommended reading for this unit includes:

Print resources

Dunn, C. and Chennell, S., 2012, Australian master work health and safety guide, CCH Australia Limited, NSW.

Dunn, C. E, 2012, Annotated Australian work health and safety legislation, CCH Australia Limited, NSW.

Frick, K., Jensen, P., Quinlan, M., and Wilthagen, T., 2000, Systematic occupational health and safety management, Pergamon, New York.

Standards Australia, 2009, AS/NZS ISO 31000:2009 Risk management principles and guidelines.

Taylor, G., Easter, K., and Hegney, R., 2001, Enhancing safety: a workplace guide 1, 3 rd edn, WestOne, Perth.

Online resources

Canvas Solutions, ‘Application store’, GoCanvas, viewed June 2015, <http://www.gocanvas.com/mobile-forms-apps/>.

Commonwealth Government, ‘Acts and codes of practice in your state or territory’, Business.gov.au, viewed June 2015,

<http://www.business.gov.au/businesstopics/employing-people/workplace-health-

and-safety/Pages/workplace-healthand-safety-in-your-state-or-territory.aspx>.

IBSA, ‘IBSA channel’, YouTube, viewed June 2015, <http://www.youtube.com/ibsachannel>.

Safe Work Australia, 2011, ‘Model Codes of practice’, Safe Work Australia, viewed June 2015, <http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/swa/model-whs-laws/ model-cop/pages/model-cop>.

Safe Work Australia, 2011, How to manage work health and safety risks, available online, Safe Work Australia, viewed June 2015, <http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/SWA/about/Publications/Documents /633/How_to_Manage_Work_Health_and_Safety_Risks.pdf >.

Safe Work Australia, 2011, Work health and safety consultation, co-operation and co-ordination code of practice, available online, Safe Work Australia, viewed June 2015, <http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/SWA/about/Publications/

Documents/624/Work_Health_and_Safety_Consultation_CoOperation_and_

CoOrdination.pdf>.

Safe Work Australia, 2012, Emergency plans fact sheet, available online, Safe Work Australia, viewed June 2015, <http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/

SWA/about/Publications/Documents/657/Emergency_plans_fact_sheet.pdf>.

Safe Work Australia, 2012, First aid in the workplace code of practice, available online, Safe Work Australia, viewed June 2015, <http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/swa/about/publications/pages/firsta id-in-the-workplace>.

Safe Work Australia, 2012, Guide to the model Work Health and Safety Act, available online, Safe Work Australia, viewed June 2015, <http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/SWA/about/Publications/Documents

/717/Guide-to-the-WHS-Act.pdf>.

Safe Work Australia, viewed June 2015, <http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/SWA>.

Safety Culture, viewed June 2015, <http://www.safetyculture.com.au/>.

SAI Global, viewed June 2015, <http://www.saiglobal.com>.

The Institute of Ergonomics & Human Factors, (IEHF), ‘Office work’, The Learning Zone, viewed June 2015, <http://www.ergonomics4schools.com/lzone/ office.htm>.

WorkCover NSW, 2012, Compliance policy and prosecution guidelines, available online, WorkCover NSW, viewed June 2015, <http://www.workcover.nsw.gov.au/

data/assets/pdf_file/0019/15319/compliance_policy_prosecution_guidelines_

2012_4437.pdf>

WorkSafe Tasmania, ‘Sample safe work procedures’, WorkSafe Tasmania, viewed June 2015, <http://worksafe.tas.gov.au/safety/safety_advisors/sample_safe_ work_procedures>.

WorkSafe Victoria, viewed June 2015, <http://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/>.

Please note that any URLs contained in the recommended reading, learning content and learning activities of this publication were checked for currency during the production process. Note, however, that IBSA cannot vouch for the ongoing currency of URLs.

Every endeavour has been made to provide a full reference for all web links. Where URLs are not current, we recommend using the reference information provided to search for the source in your chosen search engine.

Section 1 Work Safely

This section is about working safely. You need to work safely to meet legal and organisational needs. This section explains those legal and organisational needs by talking about the work health and safety (WHS) laws, the WHS policy and procedures that an organisation has, pre-start systems*, equipment checks, and what you should do in emergencies.

*A pre-start system is a checklist for checking your equipment before you start using it.

Scenario: Working safely at Ace Accounting

Ace Accounting is a medium-sized accounting firm that has its head office in Melbourne, Victoria. Ace Accounting also has offices in Sydney, NSW. Karen works in Ace Accounting as a clerk in the tax returns department at the Sydney office.

As a member of the administration team, she is responsible for:

answering calls from clients

writing workplace documents at a workstation*.

To follow the WHS laws and company guidelines, Karen will need to do her best to be safe herself and do her best to make sure others are safe. She will need to follow procedures for doing her own work because the company wrote the procedures to make sure that Karen uses the safest method of completing her tasks.

Karen has completed WHS induction*. She needs to follow organisational procedures for safe work including conducting housekeeping* and doing pre-start checks to set up her workstation. In addition, Karen needs to follow procedures for safe use of office equipment, safe lifting and use of cleaning materials in the kitchen. Karen needs to be aware of signs to make her aware of dangerous things in the workplace that are called hazards. Finally, Karen has to follow procedures for practice evacuations such as fire evacuations.

*A workstation is an area where you work, when you don’t have your own office. *An induction is training you get when you start at a company so that you have a basic knowledge of what to do * housekeeping means looking at your workplace and making sure that it is as safe as possible, ideally before you start your shift.

What skills will you need?

In order to work safely, you must be able to:

follow safety procedures and instructions when you are at work

do pre-start checks and equipment checks that are in your work procedures

follow work procedures for responding to emergencies.

Know the law

There are laws in Australia that the government designed to keep Australian workers and workplaces safe. Under WHS law, everyone has a responsibility to help keep a safe work environment. Employers (or PCBUs) must keep a safe place of work. Workers must act responsibly to perform work tasks safely and avoid harming themselves or others.

In most cases, if you follow the procedures at your work, it is enough to satisfy legal requirements for workers

and employees. For example, a construction worker follows a work procedure by putting on a helmet before entering the construction site. The construction worker is following a procedure for work that is making sure he or she is safe because it will protect him from falling tools or materials at the construction site.

In other cases, however, deciding on what your legal responsibility is for the safety of others may be more difficult. For example:No safety procedures may exist for you to follow. You may have special WHS duties. You may be responsible for supervising others. You may not be sure of your rights Your employer might not follow the legal requirement to make sure your workplace is safe. Who can you contact for advice or complain to?

To really know your legal responsibilities and rights, you need to know a little about health and safety laws. Let’s look at the legislative framework (laws), work health and safety authorities, and think about the new WHS laws in most places around Australia.

Key term PCBU

You can think of a PCBU (person conducting a business or undertaking) as an employer. The reason that we refer to ‘PCBU’ instead of ‘employer’ is because PCBU is the term used in the WHS Act and it has a more specific meaning than the word employer.

Legislation

Legislation is a collection of laws. Australian legislation, for example, refers to the group of laws that apply in Australia.

The WHS legislative framework

The WHS legal framework shows the relationship between the different levels of legal documents. These documents explain the requirements and enforcement (who the authorities are, how they make sure people are following the law or how they punish people for not

following the law) of WHS legal compliance in Australian states and territories.

The WHS legal framework consists of several levels of documentation.

Acts Regulations Standards and codes of practice Guidance notes
Acts
Regulations
Standards and codes
of practice
Guidance notes

Acts

An Act with a capital ‘A’ refers to an Act of Parliament, which, in Australia, is a law made by a federal or state Parliament. Acts have the highest legal status in the framework. Acts tell you who have responsibility roles and tasks. For example, the WHS Act tells you the

obligations of duty holders (such as employees or people with WHS responsibilities in the workplace). Acts also tell you who is responsible for

enforcing the Acts. For example, WHS is the responsibility of the state governments in Australia, so each state and territory enforces its own WHS Act.

Generally, the various WHS Acts across states and territories require employers (PCBUs) to:

Premises

Premises are the workplace buildings, as well as land and any other structures on the land.

Protect the health and safety of workers
Protect the health and safety of workers
Make their workplaces safe and make sure these places do not risk are not dangerous
Make their workplaces safe and make sure these places do not risk are not
dangerous to the health and safety of the people who work there and visit
them.
Make sure that their machinery and equipment (known as ‘plant’) is safe and is not
Make sure that their machinery and equipment (known as ‘plant’) is safe and
is not dangerous to people’s health and safety when used correctly.
Let workplace inspectors enter any premises for inspection – . Inspectors may give written orders,
Let workplace inspectors enter any premises for inspection – . Inspectors
may give written orders, directives or on-the-spot fines* (if appropriate) in order
to make sure that all plant, procedures and equipment are safe
Provide training and safety systems to ensure the health and safety of employees and other
Provide training and safety systems to ensure the health and safety of
employees and other persons in their workplace
Speak with employees first and make decisions with them that affect WHS
Speak with employees first and make decisions with them that
affect WHS

*An on-the-spot fine is money the employee or employer has to pay immediately because they didn’t follow the law.

Employees also have obligations under state and territory WHS Acts. Employees must take care of their own safety and not endanger the safety of others through their actions or inaction. Courts generally don’t prosecute employees for workplace accidents where bad design of workplace equipment or procedures caused an injury to a person.

Regulations

Regulations support Acts by explaining how courts should understand the Acts and enforce or use them. In other words, a Regulation is a law that results from an Act. The regulation explains the law in practical terms. For example, Regulations made under the WHS Act explain about fines and penalties for failing to meet safety standards. Regulations may include approved standards, such as Australian Standards. Employers and employees must follow both Acts and regulations. There are penalties for non- compliance, such as fines.

Standards and codes of practice

Further, down the framework, standards and codes of practice give more specific and detailed information about how to comply with the Acts and Regulations in specific types of workplaces and industries.

Standards and codes of practice are not strictly mandatory, but you should follow them to make sure you are compliant with Acts and Regulations.

Importantly, you must follow standards and codes of practice that the legislation approves, if you can’t prove that you can achieve the same or better safety outcomes by following a different WHS practice or standard.

Safe Work Australia publishes model codes of practice, for example, How to Safely Remove Asbestos, Confined Spaces, or Managing Electrical Risk. These codes of practice and many others are available from the Safe Work Australia website:

<http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/swa/model-whs-

laws/modelcop/pages/model-cop>.

Guidance notes

Finally, the Commonwealth and the various states and territory regulatory bodies publish guidance notes from time to time. These notes provide information that will help duty holders to meet the requirements of Acts or Regulations. When you use guidance notes, it will help you to comply with the law. Like codes of practice and industry standards, guidance notes have no direct legal status, but you should follow them to make sure that you comply with the law.

Safe Work Australia publishes guidance material and fact sheets, for example, there is a guide called Hazardous Chemicals Requiring Health Monitoring, as well as a guide called Worker Representation and Participation guide. These guidance materials and many others are available from the Safe Work Australia website:

<http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/swa/model-whs-laws/guidance/

pages/guidance-material>.

Workplace health and safety authorities

Each state and territory in Australia has its own ‘WorkCover’ or ‘WorkSafe’ authority or regulator. You can contact your state or territory regulator for information and advice on:

complying with work health and safety laws

reporting a workplace incident

renewing or applying for licences

workers’ compensation claims

registering plant and plant designs.

Plant

Any machinery, equipment or tools used at work.

You can find links to various state and territory regulators on the Work Safe Australia website:

<http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/swa/pages/default>.

New WHS laws

You should be aware of recent changes to the health and safety laws in Australia. These changes may affect your work and your organisation’s approach to work health and safety. The Commonwealth and state and territory governments have agreed to make laws that reflect the model Work Health Safety Act (the WHS Act) which Safe Work Australia developed. These laws will replace older occupational health and safety (OHS) laws.

Note that, the original OHS laws still exist in Victoria and Western Australian as they have not yet (as at September 2016) enacted the model WHS Act. Note also that, while most information in this Student Workbook applies to work health and safety in general, this Student Workbook uses terminology from the WHS Act. For more information about the model Work Health and Safety Act, and the progress of implementation, visit Safe Work Australia:

<http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/swa/model- whslaws/pages/jurisdictional-progress-whs-laws>.

Learning activity: New WHS laws

Visit Safe Work Australia online to find out the progress of implementation of new WHS laws in your state or territory on the ‘Jurisdictional progress on the model WHS laws’ page: <http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/swa/model- whslaws/pages/jurisdictional-progress-whs-laws>.

Answer the questions below.

Do new WHS laws already exist in your state or territory?

If not, is there a scheduled date for implementation?

Identify organisational WHS policies and procedures

While legislation tells you what you must do, usually it doesn’t tell you how to do it for your particular workplace. Organisations must have policies and procedures to make sure that the workplace follows WHS legislation, approved standards and codes of practice.

The law requires employers to provide a ‘safe system of work’. This means an employer needs a method of communicating employer and employee responsibilities and explaining a safe way of working that all employees can follow.

1st

Section 1

Tip: WHS manuals

An organisation usually keeps its WHS policies and procedures in a manual. Manuals may be physical books or they could be available online. Some typical WHS policy and procedures include:

workplace harassment policy

emergency procedures

rehabilitation policy

hygiene* procedures housekeeping

procedures problem solving. *hygiene relates to keeping people and equipment clean * rehabilitation means the way you help an injured person to recover and regain their health.

Let’s look at policies and procedures in slightly more detail.

WHS policy

Work health and safety policies give you a foundation for understanding employer and employee obligations. A WHS policy is a statement of what the organisation wants to achieve in its approach to health and safety. For example, a WHS policy says what the employer (called in the WHS Act a ‘PCBU’, which means a ‘person conducting a business or undertaking’) is going to do to keep a safe workplace and follow laws.

Policies usually contain statements about the:

purpose or intent of policy

range

responsibilities for implementation

Policy Purpose Scope Responsibility Legislation, etc.
Policy
Purpose
Scope
Responsibility
Legislation, etc.

legislation, standards and codes of practice that affect the company.

The policy will only be effective if all levels of the company are committed to it, including senior managers. For this reason, an expression of commitment from the highest levels of the organisation is often included in a WHS policy. Policies may also apply to specific areas of WHS. Look at the following examples.

Example WHS policies

Ace Accounting WHS Policy (purpose)

Ace Accounting recognises its responsibility to provide a healthy and safe working environment for employees, contractors, clients and visitors. Ace Accounting is committed to the continued wellbeing* of its employees and to ensuring that all employees are safe from injury and health risks while undertaking work-related duties*, including home-based work.

*wellbeing means a feeling of safety and happiness *undertaking work-related duties means doing tasks at work or for work

 

WHS Policy 62 Manual handling (excerpt adapted)

The organisation must assess the risk of all tasks involving manual handling and control them. The organisation must identify and communicate responsibilities for all levels of employees and management and all staff who have these responsibilities must do them effectively. The organisation will provide equipment to assist in manual handling where they identify a need as part of a control measure. Staff will use this equipment appropriately and maintain it well at all times. All operators must be certified where the law requires it.

 

Control measures

An example of a full WHS policy can be found for Ace Accounting in Appendix 3 of this Student Workbook.

A method used to reduce or remove risks that happen because of a something dangerous. For example, placing walls around a dangerous workplace would be an example of a control.

Procedures

A procedure is a written instruction that describes the

best (and safest) method of performing a task or activity. A WHS procedure will explain ways to reduce any risks or harm when you do a task.

A procedure explains the potential hazards and then

describes the control measures you should apply. Procedures often include:

Procedure Name Description Standards Responsibility Monitoring Safety requirements Instructions Flow charts
Procedure
Name
Description
Standards
Responsibility
Monitoring
Safety requirements
Instructions
Flow charts
Training needs
Reporting

name of the action or task

description of action you need to take

standards

who is responsible

process for monitoring

safety requirements

step-by-step instructions

diagrams and flow charts*

training requirements

reporting requirements.

*A flowchart shows the step-by-step instructions in boxes with arrows to other boxes

Standard operating procedures (SOPs) are types of procedure that everyone should follow

in the same way. SOPs are an important way to make sure safe behaviour is consistent

when employees perform a work task. Standard setting bodies such as the International

Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) may give their support to SOPs.

You can find examples of procedures in the Appendices of this Student Workbook.

What if I don’t agree with a policy or procedure?

Policies and procedures are there for your own safety. We all have to follow them. However, sometimes a procedure may be inaccurate, old, unsafe or incorrect.

If you notice a problem with a procedure (or you identify any safety problem), you should tell your supervisor. If they don’t help, or can’t, you can tell your:

Health and safety representative (HSR) Health and safety advisor Local WorkCover WHS manager or regulator
Health and safety
representative
(HSR)
Health and safety
advisor
Local WorkCover
WHS manager
or regulator

Learning activity: Policies and procedures

Think about your workplace or a workplace you are familiar with. Can you find the WHS manual or WHS policies and procedures?

Read the Ace Accounting scenario at the beginning of the section again and look at the WHS policy in Appendix 3. Can you think of other procedures that might be necessary for office workers to work safely?

Participate in safety training and induction

It is law that employers must provide training to employees to teach safe work methods. Training may include:

Workshops On-the-job training WHS meetings WHS seminars Online training modules
Workshops
On-the-job training
WHS meetings
WHS seminars
Online training modules

WHS inductions

When you start a new job, usually you experience what is called an induction. An induction is when you are introduced to your job; the tasks you are required to do, the culture of the organisation and the policies and procedures you need to follow. Work health and safety induction provides new employees with the basic information, instruction, training and supervision that they need to function safely and effectively on-the-job.

Inductions are an opportunity for you to get a positive attitude to work health and safety (especially when you see the positive attitudes of management and other workers). A worker’s experiences in the first few weeks on a new job or task could form their attitudes to their work and their attitude to WHS.

Learning activity: Forklift induction training

Watch the video ‘BSBOHS201A: Forklift safety induction at Nover’ on IBSA’s YouTube channel at <http://youtu.be/LWY2CIKnPqs>.

What does Michelle Eccles from Toyota say is the main problem forklift operators experience when they drive forklifts?

Section 1

During the forklift safety induction at Nover, Michelle Eccles shows some of the features of the new Toyota 7 series forklift. What are the features of this forklift that contribute to reducing safety hazards in the workplace and add to driver comfort? Each feature reduces a safety risk. Which safety risk does each feature reduce?

Check your answers in Appendix 9 of this Student Workbook.

Follow safe work procedures and processes

It is part of your responsibility to make sure that you follow workplace policies and procedures for safe work. Procedure and processes include:

Housekeeping Keeping informed and up-to-date Following signs and warnings Checking protective equipment Conducting
Housekeeping
Keeping informed and up-to-date
Following signs and warnings
Checking protective equipment
Conducting pre-start checks

Housekeeping

Like at your home, mess can be dangerous at work. Housekeeping is a common workplace procedure for making sure it is safe.

For example, if you notice a spill or equipment on the floor you are must clean it up, put a barrier around it, or report it immediately before someone slips or trips.

Good housekeeping means all staff should check:

if the area is kept clean and tidy

if all items are safely stored

if all floor coverings are in good condition and there is no possibility that someone will trip

if the work and floor area are clear of electrical leads, network cables or similar objects

if all desk drawers and filing cabinets are closed when no one is using them

if waste paper bins don’t have dangerous material in them, such as broken glass.

Organisational processes for housekeeping may include the use of checklists. Remember, checking is only part of your workplace responsibility. You need to fix the problem or report it immediately. Your workplace should have procedures for dealing with and reporting hazards.

Keep up-to-date

You need to keep up-to-date with changing safety conditions. Let’s look at some common ways to keep up-to-date.

WHS noticeboards

WHS noticeboards let employers and responsible people show safety information to all staff. This information includes:

Safety notices
Safety
notices
Workplace hazards
Workplace
hazards
Training
Training

Usually these boards are in a tea or lunchroom, or in an area where you are can see them and read the information.

Organisational intranets and websites

Intranets are good tools for distributing WHS information. A responsible person can put any WHS forms and copies of safety alerts on the intranet for all staff to see and use as a reference. Important safety information is also sometimes available on the organisation’s website.

Emails, memos and safety alerts

Employers and responsible people can easily share large amounts of information with workers cheaply and quickly via emails.

A responsible person can also distribute memos and safety alerts to all staff. For example, the HSR may want to remind workers about paying particular attention to ‘falls, slips and trips’ and write a safety alert for all staff to be vigilant* in this area. *vigilant means to look very carefully, in this case for dangerous things

Example: A workplace memo

From: John Citizen CEO Ace Accounting To: All Staff Date: 27 June

A new safety alert about slips, trips and falls has been posted on our intranet.

At this time of the year, our work levels are particularly high and I urge all staff to be vigilant about reducing risks wherever possible by keeping tax files and boxes of files ordered and well-stacked.

Please be aware that visitors to our workplace are also exposed to the same risks and remind them to be careful when entering or leaving the storage room.

I urge all staff to read this new safety alert and know how to avoid this type of accident, and that you know what forms to use should an incident occur.

John Citizen CEO

Follow the signs and warnings

Workplaces use standard signs to so that people are aware of hazards or requirements of different areas. Different types of signs in the workplace have different (but standardised) colours and mean different things.

We use horns and sirens in workplaces to warn people about hazards, such as moving equipment, or to alert people to emergencies like fires.

Mandatory signs

Mandatory signs are blue and white. They tell you things that you must do in a work area. We often use them to tell people to wear safety equipment or stay on the walkways.

people to wear safety equipment or stay on the walkways. Caution signs Caution signs are yellow
people to wear safety equipment or stay on the walkways. Caution signs Caution signs are yellow

Caution signs

Caution signs are yellow and black. They show workplace hazards such as forklifts, noise, radiation areas or overhead cranes.

as forklifts, noise, radiation areas or overhead cranes. BSBWHS201 Contribute to health and safety of self
Danger signs Danger signs are always red, black and white. They show areas where you
Danger signs
Danger signs are always red, black and white.
They show areas where you can’t go, such as
high voltage areas or chemical storage areas.
Fire safety signs
Fire safety signs are always red. They show
locations of extinguishers, hoses, alarms and
other fire safety equipment
First aid signs
First aid signs are always green. They show you
the location of first aid kits, first aid stations,
eyewash stations and so on.

Learning activity: Look for the signs!

Draw a plan of your workplace or place of learning.

Look for the following signs and tick them if you find them. Write next to each kind of sign what colour those signs are in your workplace.

mandatory signs

caution signs

danger signs

fire safety signs

first aid signs

In your opinion, were there enough signs? If not, suggest what you could do to improve the number or type of signs to improve workplace safety.

Check personal protective equipment (PPE)

In some work sectors (like manufacturing and construction), a common procedural requirement is to use personal protective equipment (PPE) to reduce the exposure to hazards. PPE can include such items as:

eye protection (goggles or glasses)

hearing protection (ear plugs or ear muffs)

respiratory protection (respirators and face masks)

foot protection (safety boots, sometimes steel capped)

head protection (helmets)

body protection (aprons and/or safety harnesses).

In most office situations, workers probably won’t need such PPE. However, if you work in an office of a construction company, for example, then there may be times when you need to wear some PPE.

Scenario: Steel cap boots

Max is a new worker at a busy factory. The factory rules say that workers must wear a helmet, hearing protection, appropriate clothes and safety boots at all times in the factory. The employer told Max this during his induction and reminded him a few times in his first week.

In his second week on the job, Max forgot to wear his safety boots. He went to his workstation and began working, but his supervisor saw him and sent him home. Not only that, he also got a written warning.

Max was angry, but the supervisor (rightly) said: ‘It’s for Max’s own safety’.

Do pre-start checks

We usually do pre-start checks on machinery and equipment in workplaces to make sure that they are safe and ready for work. Often, the employer develops checklists for people to follow when starting up machinery, vehicles or equipment.

Let’s look at some examples of pre-start checks.

Example 1: Work station prestart checklist

Safety point

Is access to your workstation free of obstacles?

 

Is the height of the chair set so that the middle row keys (AL) are at the same level as your hands and forearms?

 

Is your screen set at arm's length, with the top of the screen at eye level?

 

Is your workstation positioned so that it reduces glare and reflection?

 

Can you use your mouse easily?

 

Is it easy to get all materials you need for work?

 

Do you have footrests where you need them?

 

Example 2: Vehicle* pre-start checklist

Safety point

Is the vehicle in neutral or park (automatic)?

 

Has a mechanic checked and/or fixed the brakes recently?

 

Does the park brake work?

 

Does the reversing alarm* work (if the vehicle has one)?

 

Are the seat belts in good condition?

 

Are the windscreen wipers in good condition?

 

Are the headlights and fog lights (if the vehicle has them) working?

 

Are the brake lights working?

 

Does the vehicle have reflectors?

 

*A vehicle is anything you can drive such as a car, truck, bus or forklift *Reversing alarm is a sound the vehicle makes to warn people that the vehicle is reversing (going backwards)

Do you know of any pre-start checks that people do in your workplace?

Learning activity: Do pre-work and equipment checks

Consider your workplace or a workplace you know. Answer the following questions:

Do you need to do pre-work or equipment checks in your workplace?

What checks must you do?

How must you do the checks? What tools or checklists must you use?

Follow emergency procedures

In addition to day-to-day safe work procedures, you will need to be aware of and follow emergency procedures. It is often important for organisations to practise procedures regularly because emergency procedures reduce the risk to people in potentially catastrophic situations. Emergency procedures includes those for incidents, injuries and evacuations. In addition, some people in the workplace have special responsibilities to help or manage emergency procedures.

Incidents and injuries

Incidents and injuries may happen in many ways. Organisations should have policies and procedures for possible high-risk incidents. The organisation should clearly communicate these policies and procedures to employees and make them easy to access. For example, the company can put up safety data sheets (SDS) where employees use hazardous chemicals.

These sheets have instructions on how to manage them in case of an accident and who to call if you need help.

Organisations should have reporting and recording procedures for incidents. These procedures are important so that the organisation can learn from accidents and also show that the organisation cares about improving safety. For serious incidents, such as accidents where employees need to go to hospital, the organisation should have procedures or processes to report to the state or territory authority or regulator.

Evacuation (fire, gas leaks or other major incidents)

The organisation must have procedures for emergencies, which can include:

medical emergency when someone must give first aid and/or call medical

personnel

fire

power failure

gas leak

bomb threat

flood or other extreme weather situations.

In each of these situations, all employees must follow the relevant procedures. Workplaces often practise evacuating premises in case an emergency happens. Practise can help in case the real situation happens because employees will already know the procedures.

The organisation should arrange an emergency evacuation assembly place. All staff should know where this particular place is and there should be signs that show where it is.

Case study: Evacuation procedure

ABC TAFE College is a large TAFE college in an Australian capital city.

At their main campus, ABC TAFE has 2,000 students. One Tuesday at 8.15 am (before classes were about to begin), a 19 year old girl crashed her Dad’s car into the main electrical power pole outside the TAFE. This pole carried power to the TAFE College’s main five-storey building. All the lighting and computer systems stopped working at ABC TAFE’s campus, except for the emergency exit signs.

Three months before, all wardens*, staff, teachers and students had practiced ABC TAFE’s evacuation procedure. Floor wardens activated the evacuation plan and signalled for all teachers to take students to the nearby evacuation points. Teachers took the attendance of their students and everyone stayed calm.

*See definition below.

People with special responsibilities

Some people have special responsibilities in case of incidents. These people include first aid officers and wardens.

First aid officer

A first aid officer is a person who the organisation choses to help with emergency

treatment of injuries or illness to employees in the workplace.

If you want to be a first aid officer, you must hold a Statement of Attainment from a

registered training organisation (RTO) for at least one nationally recognised unit of competency in first aid. Currently, these units are:

apply first aid

apply advanced first aid

manage first aid in the workplace

provide first aid in remote situations. 1

If, at any point that you are responsible for organising first aid training, you should check the up-to-date requirements for training, because they can change.

Wardens

All buildings or workplaces have wardens. They are the people who help manage emergencies, especially evacuations from buildings or workplaces. Wardens are people who work in your office or building and their role of warden is usually additional to their regular work position.

The responsibilities of the wardens may vary during an emergency. They usually include tasks like:

1 Safe Work Australia, 2012, First aid in the workplace code of practice, available online, Safe Work Australia, viewed June 2015, <http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/swa/about/publications/pages/first-aid- inthe-workplace>.

managing an evacuation of people who are in a building to a safe place where everyone meets (assembly point(s)). This includes visitors who may be in the building at the time

helping the emergency services

using portable fire extinguishers in the building when it is safe to use them.

The fire warden’s role, when the fire alarm sounds, is to check the area of the building they are responsible for to make sure that no one is inside and report to the senior fire warden or incident officer at their assembly point. Fire wardens don’t fight fires or put themselves in danger. They receive training from an approved training provider to make sure that they can undertake their duties safely.

It is important to know who the warden is for your building or workplace. In an emergency, it is important to quickly recognise the wardens. It is also important that emergency services (police, fire, ambulance) can quickly identify who the wardens are. The use of coloured safety helmets helps with this.

Wardens may include trained first aid people.

Learning activity: Find the warden

Think about your own workplace or a workplace you know.

Find out who your wardens are and what their responsibilities are in an emergency. Also, ask what colour helmet they have.

Do you have different wardens who do different tasks in an emergency?

Write down your results below.

Section summary

This section covered skills and knowledge that you need to work safely to satisfy both legal and organisational requirements. You should now be able to describe the WHS legislative framework, follow organisational WHS policy and procedures, do pre-start systems and equipment checks, and implement workplace procedures for responding to emergencies.

Further reading

Dunn, C. E., 2012, Annotated Australian work health and safety legislation, CCH Australia Limited, NSW.

Dunn, C. and Chennell, S., 2012, ‘Part 2: Legal issues in workplace health and safety’, in Australian master work health and safety guide, CCH Australia Limited, NSW.

Safe Work Australia, 2012, Emergency plans fact sheet, available online, Safe Work Australia, viewed June 2015, <http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/

SWA/about/Publications/Documents/657/Emergency_plans_fact_sheet.pdf>.

Safe Work Australia, 2011, ‘Model codes of practice’, Safe Work Australia, viewed June 2015, <http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/swa/model-whs-laws/ model-cop/pages/model-cop>.

Safe Work Australia, 2011, ‘Model Work Health and Safety Act’, Safe Work Australia, viewed June 2015, <http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/swa/ model-whs-laws/model-whs-act/pages/model-whs-act>.

WorkSafe Tasmania, ‘Sample safe work procedures’, WorkSafe Tasmania, viewed June 2015, <http://worksafe.tas.gov.au/safety/safety_advisors/sample_safe_ work_procedures>.

Section checklist

Before you go on to the next section, make sure that you are able to:

follow safety procedures and instructions when at work

do pre-start checks and equipment checks that work procedures tell you to do

follow work procedures for responding to emergency incidents.

Section 2 Follow Work Safety Requirements

In this section, we focus on how to apply the requirements of legislation, policies and procedures in the workplace. This section explains how to find the right person to report problems to and identify hazards, follow procedures, report incidents, and recognise who is responsible for different duties (duty holders) and what duties they are responsible for.

Scenario: Ace Accounting WHS duties

Remember that Ace Accounting employs Karen as a clerk in the Sydney tax returns department. Karen needs to do this work in a safe manner to make sure that she and other staff are safe. Sometimes this responsibility can include reporting hazards to her supervisor or health and safety representative (HSR).

In addition to her regular responsibilities, Karen has some additional WHS duties.

She is now the volunteer First Aid Officer for her work group. She completed a two day accredited course in emergency first aid. If an injury or incident occurs, she must make sure that she completes an incident report (using the Ace Accounting template) and reports the incident to the WorkCover Authority of NSW if she needs to.

She also helps the HSR do regular safety inspections of the office.

To understand her WHS role in the organisation and do her volunteer WHS duties, Karen needs to identify WHS duty holders. The duty holders include herself, other workers, supervisors and managers and Ace Accounting.

What skills will you need?

In order to follow work safety requirements, you must be able to:

identify who you need to report queries and concerns about safety in the workplace to.

identify current and possible hazards in the workplace, report them to the right duty holder, and record them according to workplace procedures

identify and implement WHS procedures and work instructions

identify and report emergency incidents and injuries to the right duty holder according to workplace procedures

identify WHS duty holders in own work area and their duties.

Identify designated persons

As an employee, one of your WHS responsibilities is to help to keep a workplace safe by reporting hazards or raising concerns about health and safety. You need to report these concerns to designated persons (the right duty holder) in your organisation.

Health and safety representatives

Health and safety representatives (HSRs) play an important role in work health and safety. They are an important communication link between employees and management. One or more work groups elect a HSR for

a three-year period and the HSR may choose a deputy

HSR to help them. A work group may elect more than one HSR if it is necessary.

Work group

A grouping of employees who share similar work health and safety concerns and conditions, usually because they have similar work tasks and/or work in the same office or work space.

Under WHS law, employers must allow workers to be represented by an HSR if they (the workers) choose. Work groups elect HSRs to represent the worries of employees who

share similar work health and safety worries and conditions. HSRs can do the following

things:

Routine inspections of the workplace or inspections resulting from a reported hazard or incident Accompany
Routine inspections of the workplace or inspections resulting from a reported
hazard or incident
Accompany state regulator inspectors during visits
Get access to WHS information on activities and workers
Investigate WHS complaints that workers make.
Investigate WHS complaints that workers make.

HSRs can take health and safety complaints and worries from employees to management. This is really important when employees believe that control measures for hazards are not going to keep them safe. Employees may talk about these worries at health and safety committee (HSC) meetings (we describe health and safety committees in more detail on page 46). Management will then tell employees about the results and decisions of these meetings. This process forms an important part of consultation, which we will talk about in more detail in Section 3.

If a HSR has completed approved training, then they can also issue provisional

improvement notices (PINs). A PIN is an order to an employer stating that they have to fix

a health and safety issue in the workplace.

Safety advisors

WHS advisors are full-time staff or consultants who give advice and guidance for implementing WHS in the workplace. WHS advisors will provide information on various WHS matters including reporting options. Safety advisors may also include external safety consultants with specialised WHS expertise.

WHS managers

Larger organisations employ WHS managers to manage health and safety and WHS systems. WHS managers should consult with workers directly, though their representatives, and through consultative arrangements such as HSCs. WHS managers may receive and respond to queries and complaints, from either direct reports or anyone in the organisation, depending on the reporting procedures.

Supervisors, line managers and team leaders

Direct supervisors, line managers and team leaders are responsible for their workers’ safety and, as officers of a PCBU, they have a duty of care to make sure everyone follows safety policies and procedures. Direct supervisors might receive and respond to queries and complaints relating to health and safety, depending on the reporting procedures.

Learning activity: Identify designated persons

Think about your own workplace or place of learning. Review relevant policies and procedures.

Find out who you can contact to:

lodge a complaint (tell a complaint to)

make an enquiry

report a hazard.

Identify hazards

You will need to identify and categorise hazards to participate in work health and safety. Organisations use identification and categorisation to decide on how to eliminate or control the hazard. Hazards may take many forms. We can often categorise them into physical hazards, psychosocial hazards, mechanical hazards, chemical hazards, sources of energy, and environmental hazards.

Let’s look at these six types of hazards in more detail.

Follow Work Safety Requirements

Physical hazards

They are many types of physical hazards, but some common ones in an office environment include:

mess

fluid spills (such as coffee or water)

poor manual handling poor ergonomics.

Mess and spills

poor manual handling ● poor ergonomics. Mess and spills Mess and spills are a major cause

Mess and spills are a major cause of workplace accidents. A clean workplace is a safe workplace. Housekeeping procedures, as discussed in Section 1, are a good way to control mess.

Tip: 5S your work area

Mess and poor housekeeping can make someone trip or fall and these are common causes of injuries in the workplace. Programs such as ‘5S can reduce these types of injuries.

5S is a systematic way to organise your workplace organisation where employees need to:

Sort remove any unnecessary items from the work area.

Set in order organise the things that you need (a place for everything and everything in its place).

Shine clean and paint the work area.

Standardise develop standard procedures for the work area.

Sustain have rosters, checklists, responsibilities for work areas so that you don’t go back to bad old habits.

Learning activity: Research 5S

There is plenty of information on the internet about 5S. Find some 5S techniques for organising your workstation. List the things you would do to 5S your desk.

Manual handling

Manual handling is when you lift and move boxes or other equipment yourself rather than using special equipment to help you move items (like moving heavy items with a forklift). Manual handling is a common workplace task and poor manual handling is a common cause of injury. It can involve lifting, lowering, carrying, pushing, pulling and so on.

You probably know someone that has an injured back or shoulder because they didn’t lift or carry a box, product or stock correctly at work.

Tip: How to lift, carry and lower

When lifting you should use good lifting techniques:

Get as close to the load as possible. You need to centre yourself over the load and stand with your feet apart (your feet should be in line with your shoulders).

Tighten your stomach muscles. This helps to support your back.

Put your hands on the load firmly and pull the load near you. The further away the load is from the body, the heavier it will feel.

Bend your knees. Bending your knees is the most important thing you can do when lifting moderate to heavy objects. The advice is to squat down like a weightlifter, keep your back in its natural arch, and let the legs do the lifting. The leg muscles are much more powerful than the smaller muscles in your back.

Move it slowly and smoothly and lift straight up; do not move it too quickly and suddenly.

Do not twist or turn your body while lifting. Keep your head up and just look straight ahead. Hold the load close and keep it steady. 2

Poor ergonomics

Ergonomics is a word used to describe how people function in their workplace. It is necessary that any workstation is ergonomically correct when we use or introduce any screen-based equipment such as portable computers.

Tip: Set up your workstation

Try following this advice for setting up your workstation:

Adjust the height of the chair so that the keys (AL) are in line with your hands and arms.

The screen should be at a distance that allows you to focus easily. Usually this is about an arm’s length, with the top of the screen at eye level.

Wrists should be held in a neutral or straight position. If you bend them up or down, it can cause injury.

2 Adapted from: Washington University, ‘Resources directory’, Environmental health and safety, viewed June

2015, <http://ehs.wustl.edu/resources/EHS%20Documents/Back%20Safety%20and%20Lifting.pdf>.

Position the workstation so that you reduce glare and reflection. You should put your monitors in a place where they are 90 degrees to the window.

If this is not possible, you can put an anti-glare filter over the screen.

Add a mouse, keyboard and monitor to your laptop if you use it a lot.

When you look at a hard-copy source document, always use an adjustable document holder.

When using a mouse, consider the following tips:

Hands should be in a relaxed position over the mouse and the keyboard.

Place your mouse right next to your keyboard.

Move the mouse across the mouse pad surface with your wrist and arm together, not just the wrist.

Allow your fingers to rest (flop) over the mouse. Do not hold fingers above the buttons ready to strike. Keep your hand off the mouse when not using.

Take your hand off the mouse every 5 to 10 minutes and stretch your arms and shake your fingers.

Keep your mouse close. Beware of over-reaching. 3

Mechanical hazards

Mechanical hazards include machinery, parts, tools, objects and materials that employees use in the work process that can lead to injuries. Such hazards have the potential to cut, rip, tear, crush, penetrate and fly through the air or cause sudden impact.

Some general guidelines to consider when avoiding mechanical hazards include:

Wear proper eye, hand and foot protection
Wear proper eye, hand and foot protection
Always use PPE like face shields, safety glasses, and/or goggles when you need to Don’t
Always use PPE like face shields, safety glasses, and/or goggles
when you need to
Don’t wear loose items such as rings, necklaces, bracelets, long hair,
loose clothing, neckties, scarves, earrings, and beards
Watch out for sharp objects, pinch points and moving objects
Obey all safety signs
Obey all safety signs
Always use safety devices on equipment
Always use safety devices on equipment

Example: Forklift injuries in Australian workplaces

3 Adapted from: The Institute of Ergonomics & Human Factors, (IEHF), ‘Office work’, The learning zone, viewed June 2015, <http://www.ergonomics4schools.com/lzone/office.htm>.

Forklifts are a major cause of injury and death in Australian workplaces. This doesn’t need to be the case. Risk assessments and safe working procedures could greatly reduce the number of forklift injuries.

For example, in one situation, a forklift’s mast (in front of the front window) hit a beam, which made the forklift fall on its side and crush the driver, who later died. The investigation found he was not wearing a seatbelt and suffered injuries to his head and upper body. The investigation told the court that the company had bought the forklift recently and they hadn’t done a full risk assessment of it. Its mast was 10 cm too high to clear the beams at the workplace. The employer was aware of this because the same beam had been hit the day before. 4

Psychosocial hazards

An often overlooked, yet surprisingly common, type of hazard is psychosocial hazards. This includes things like:

Drug and Fatigue alcohol abuse
Drug and
Fatigue
alcohol
abuse

Bullying and

Stress and

harassment

overwork

Stress and overwork

Stress can be caused by conditions in the workplace. In some cases, job stress can be disabling.

Violence and bullying

Bullying can happen between co-workers, clients, customers, contractors and others from outside the workplace. It can also happen with employers and managers in positions of authority.

Workplace bullying (and any associated violence) is a serious health and safety hazard. It is often characterised by:

unreasonable demands and impossible targets

threatening verbal abuse

malicious gossip and/or rumours about the person

cruel or humiliating ‘initiation’ rituals (very common for some apprentices)

mandatory overtime, unfair rostering or allocation of work or training

interference with personal belongings or locker and desk area

sabotage of work.

4 Adapted from: J. Alder, 2007, ‘Forklift death leads to $200,000 fine’, Safety culture, viewed June 2015,

<http://www.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/06/forklift-death-leads-to-200000-fine/>.

Sexual harassment

Tip: Dealing with bullying

All employees have the right to respect and to a safe and healthy environment at work. If bullying is happening in your workplace, there are ways to deal with it, including:

talking about it openly with fellow workers

holding a meeting, even away from the workplace if necessary

involving the workplace HSR, HSC or other delegates

contacting the union if a union member needs help

contacting senior management and human resources representatives.

The federal Sex Discrimination Act (1984)defines sexual harassment as: any unwelcome or unwanted sexual behaviour which makes a person feel offended, humiliated and/or intimidated, where that reaction is reasonable in the situation.

Sexual harassment in the workplace more frequently involves men harassing women, although sometimes women harass men. Sexual harassment can involve activities such as:

touching and/or kissing that the other person doesn’t want

showing pornographic images in the workplace

sexual suggestions and asking for sexual favours

inappropriate sexual comments and/or jokes of a sexual nature.

Example: The costs of sexual harassment

In the case of Tan v Xenos (2008), a third year neurosurgery trainee at Monash Medical Centre, Dr Tan, was successful in her claim of sexual harassment against Mr Xenos.

In this incident Mr Xenos allegedly approached Dr Tan from behind in his office while she was not looking, turned her around and embraced her. He also allegedly kissed her on the lips, touched her inappropriately and indecently exposed himself to her.

The court found that Dr Tan was a believable witness in her case against Mr Xenos and it ordered him to pay $100,000 in compensation costs.

Substance abuse

Substance abuse (using drugs and alcohol) amongst employees is a huge problem in the workplace. This is because an employee that abuses drugs or alcohol is a risk to themselves and also to others.

Substance abuse can result in the employee being absent. It can reduce their productivity and ultimately contribute to bad morale in the workplace if other staff members have to do their work for them. Drug and alcohol testing in Australian workplaces is now common in many industries, especially in larger organisations. Intoxication presents really serious safety concerns. In some cases there is specific legislation authorising mandatory testing in aviation, for example. Many workplaces have policies and procedures to deal with workers who use drugs or alcohol. Follow Work Safety Requirements

Chemical and biological hazards

Chemical and biological hazards are a very common type of workplace hazard. Think of all the chemicals that you keep at home. At work you need these and usually many more.

Cleaning agents (acids, bases and solvents)

Strong effects of exposure* to these chemicals can include extreme respiratory irritation (problems breathing) and immediate and severe eye damage. Skin, eye, or lung exposure to concentrated solutions will cause immediate, severe, penetrating burns.

Exposure* to less concentrated solutions may have equally serious effects, but you might not experience the symptoms until 24 hours later. The key rule is if you are exposed to a dangerous chemical find medical advice immediately, even if you do not feel pain.

*EXPOSURE to chemicals usually means getting the chemical on your skin or accidentally drinking it, or breathing chemicals that are dangerous to breath in

Dusts and vapours

Dust (which is very small) and vapours (which you can’t see) are less obvious dangers. It is important to work in ventilated areas. If possible, try and eliminate dusts as much as possible all. For example, instead of a highly volatile compound powder that produces dust, use something strong and solid. Many dusty powders are also available in brick, pellet, paste, flakes, oil dampened powders, and other forms that create less dust when you touch or move them, and reduce the chance of breathing in the dust.

These materials can be more expensive to purchase, but they are safer for workers to touch or move and can be cheaper when you think about other costs, such as the cost of ventilation to control dust.

Another commonly used WHS work practice is to always use a vacuum cleaner (never sweep) when you cleap up dust that has come off a chemical compound.

What is an SDS?

An SDS is a safety data sheet. Until recently, these were called material safety data sheets (MSDS). WHS laws require manufacturers to prepare safety data sheets (SDS) before a hazardous substance is supplied to another person to use at work. The SDS must include the following information:

Recommended uses Precautions for employees to followfor safe use Chemical and physical properties Description of
Recommended uses
Precautions for employees to followfor safe use
Chemical and physical properties
Description of each ingredient in it
Emergency and general contact details of the manufacturer
Relevant health hazard information
Relevant health hazard information

Tip: SDS for cleaning fluids

Always read carefully the SDS for cleaning fluids.

It is common for people to have reported different adverse reactions to breathing in cleaning fluids. It has also been reported that some workers have accidentally drunk cleaning fluid and needed medical help. So please take care and read the SDS!

Sources of energy

Sources of energy include electrical energy and radiation.

Electrical

Electricity is an invisible hazard that can kill in seconds. Far too many electrical-related accidents seriously injure or kill workers each year.

Example: It’s not enough to tag

Many organisations always test and tag all electrical equipment to prevent electrical hazards.

Many organisations always test and tag all electrical equipment to prevent electrical hazards.

Employees at this workplace thought that this situation (see photo to the right) was okay because someone had checked and tagged all the cables.

However, when they did a safety inspection and gave more careful thought to the hazards, they concluded that it was unsafe to boil water on top of an electrical device!

If a workmate is suffering from an electric shock and is still touching the electrical equipment, do not touch the person, and turn off the power.

Radiation

You can’t see radiation. It is particularly hazardous because we need special equipment to find it. We can’t use our eyes, ears or nose. Training and continuous care are needed to make the rules for its safe use.

Workplace radiation sources can include:

medical equipment (X rays, CAT scanners, MRIs)

wastes

electrical equipment (such as computer screens)

communication equipment

nature (such as sunlight).

Environmental hazards

Environmental hazards can have very serious consequences, but we often forget about them. They can include hazards such as:

Poor lighting Excessive noise Weather
Poor lighting
Excessive noise
Weather

Noise

If employees regularly experience too much noise they can lose their hearing. It doesn’t happen immediately but if an employee experiences too much noise their hearing will slowly get worse and worse until they can’t hear anything. This type of hearing loss is permanent and there is no way to repair it to make their hearing normal again.

In many situations PPE can be worn (like ear plugs/ear muffs) to try to reduce noise. An organisation can also check noise levels. They can also check and assess the risk of hearing loss.

Example: Isolating the photocopier

Jemma recently moved to a different office. The photocopy machine is next to her work area. It is quite old and people use it a lot. She has complained to her supervisor several times about the continuous noise coming from the photocopier. On days when the photocopier is really busy, she gets headaches.

She felt that her supervisor was not listening to her and finally contacted the health and safety advisor and completed an incident report. The advisor told Jemma that she should have done this much earlier.

Someone moved the photocopier to a separate room. Jemma was very happy with this.

Lighting

Not enough lighting or too much glare can cause eyestrain or headaches. Fluorescent lighting, which many offices have, can irritate some people when they spend a long time in the office.

Learning activity: Identify and group hazards

Look at your workplace or your classroom. Find as many hazards as you can. Group the hazards into the six types.

Physical

 

hazards

Psychosocial

hazards

Mechanical

hazards

Chemical

hazards

Sources of

energy

Environmental

hazards

Report and record hazards

In addition to following procedures or report hazards you find when you do your day-to-day tasks, your duties may include more formal reporting. You will need to follow WHS procedures to report hazards to designated persons.

Reporting is an important part of organisational systems for managing WHS risks. Normally the people in the list below can identify WHS problems:

employees in the relevant work groups

management

visitors

authorities

staff who attend WHS or HSC meetings.

Employees, management and/or authorities can then discuss the problems together and take appropriate actions such as updating policies or procedures. It is important that staff report information on hazards to the right people and record it so it is easy for a responsible officer to assess WHS risks and respond to them to create a safer workplace.

Templates and forms, which staff use to check compliance in the workplace, may also require you to suggest solutions to particular hazards to reduce risk to health and safety. You may need to identify hazards on a form and list your suggestions to reduce or eliminate the hazard. You may also need to discuss with relevant employees on implementation of action to reduce or eliminate the hazard.

Templates and forms include hazard reports and WHS risk registers. There is an example of a risk register in the Appendices of this Student Workbook.

Learning activity: Report and record hazards

Look at your workplace or your classroom. Review reporting and recording procedures for WHS hazards and risks.

What procedures are there?

What templates and forms do you need to record WHS hazards and risks?

What must you do to report and record hazards?

Follow Work Safety Requirements

Conduct safety inspections or audits

An important part of any WHS monitoring system is regular safety inspection. Safety inspections directly contribute to health and safety improvements by helping workers to identify and reduce or eliminate hazards. In addition, if workers do safety inspections in their own place of work, they can follow the WHS laws to make sure they are responsible for their own safety.

An elected WHS representative or other designated person can do safety inspections in the workplace. Inspectors from regulatory authorities can also do safety inspections but only after a serious violation, accident or if an employee has complained to the regulatory authority.

Generally, the inspector uses a checklist during inspections to make sure that the organisation has all the requirements of a safe workplace, such as correct signs, absence or control of hazards, or access to procedures. There is an example of a safety inspection checklist in the Appendices of this Student Workbook.

Tip: online safety inspection tools

There are a number of apps that may be of use to monitor work health and safety hazards:

App name

Function, use

Link

iAuditor2

WHS audit Template for iPhone and iPad.

<http://www.safetyculture.com.au/iAuditor/>

Accident

First Aid Observation and Report Form for Apple, Android, Blackberry and Windows devices.

<http://www.gocanvas.com/mobile-

Report Form

formsapps/1638-Accident-Report-Form-

Safety-Link>

First Aid Form

 

<http://www.gocanvas.com/mobile-

For anyone who attends and gives first aid at the scene of an accident or illness; for Apple, Android, Blackberry and Windows devices.

formsapps/1640-First-Aid-Form-Safety-Link>

Safety

Examines an existing or future road and traffic project, or any project that interacts with road users; for Apple, Android, Blackberry and Windows devices.

<http://www.gocanvas.com/mobile-

Checklist for

formsapps/1630-Safety-Checklist-for-

Roadworks

RoadworksSafety-Link>

App name

Function, use

Link

Workplace

 

<http://www.gocanvas.com/mobile-

Inspection

Workplace inspection form for Apple, Android, Blackberry and Windows devices.

formsapps/1604-Workplace-Inspection-Form>

Form

Health and

Form for supervisors/managers to record workplace health and safety observations and employee actions; for Apple, Android, Blackberry and Windows devices.

<http://www.gocanvas.com/mobile-

Safety Work

formsapps/3025-Health-and-Safety-

Observation

WorkObservation>

Safety

 

<http://www.gocanvas.com/mobile-

Inspection

General work environment safety inspection form for Apple, Android, Blackberry and Windows devices.

formsapps/3049-Safety-Inspection-Work-

General

Environment-General->

Safety Audit Ergonomics

 

<http://www.gocanvas.com/mobile-

Ergonomics safety audit form for Apple, Android, Blackberry and Windows devices.

formsapps/4810-Safety-Audit-Ergonomics>

Learning activity: Do a safety inspection

Choose an area at work, at home or at your place of learning and use the WHS inspection checklist supplied in Appendix 7 of this Student Workbook to conduct a safety inspection. Record your results on the checklist.

Report incidents

When an accident or incident happens you must make sure you report it to the designated person in your workplace and follow procedures for recording details.

Remember that designated persons at your workplace may include:

designated health and safety officers

managers

elected health and safety team leaders representatives (HSRs)

other persons authorised or

supervisors nominated by the organisation.

You may need to complete an incident report form for yourself or as a witness for another person. If someone is injured in a workplace accident, and you are responsible for recording details, you will need to follow procedures to record the incident.

Note that you (acting on behalf of your employer) may have a responsibility to report serious incidents to your state or territory Work Cover authority or regulator.

Learning activity: What information do I need?

If you have an accident, you need to fill out an incident report that includes:

your name and job title

the date and time of your injury or illness

your exact location when you were injured or became ill

how the injury or illness happened

the nature of the injury or illness and what parts of your body were affected

any witnesses to the injury or illness

● ● the date you notified your employer.

Have a look at the Incident Report Form in Appendix 6. Now go to your local workplace health and safety authority website.

Make notes on what your state safety authority tells you to do if ever you need to report an injury that happens at work.

Learning activity: Fill out an incident report

Sophie works in a busy accounting firm. She sits with her back to the door and has to turn around to see anyone who comes into her office.

On 24 January, just before she finished at 5 pm, she turned around strongly than usual when you walked into her office. She lost her balance and fell onto the floor. When she fell, she landed on her right elbow. When she sat up, she was very pale, her elbow looked funny and she could not move her lower arm. Someone took Sophie to hospital that evening.

You are responsible for reporting and recording the incident. What will you do?

An incident report form is in Appendix 6 for you to use.

Identify WHS duty holders

As we talked about before, Acts show us the obligations of duty holders such as employees or staff with WHS responsibilities in the workplace. Legislation also defines the idea of ‘duty of care’, meaning that all employers and employees have an obligation to make sure their workplace is safe.

Duty holders

A ‘duty holder’ is a term in the WHS Act that refers to any person that has one or more health and safety responsibilities under the WHS Act. This includes all workers that a PCBU employs, and manufacturers, importers, suppliers or installers of products that are used at a workplace.

PCBUs

A PCBU is a person conducting a business. Under the WHS Act, a ‘person’ may be an individual or an organisation. A person may be an owner-operator, such as a sole trader, or, in the case of corporations, many people together. A worker or officer of a company is not a PCBU.

Officers

Under the Act, managers and supervisors are responsible for the workplace health, safety and welfare (the good conditions and fortune) of those who work for them. Typical responsibilities of officers include:

consulting with staff about health and safety

making sure that they give an induction to new staff in work health and safety

creating safety goals and objectives for their area of responsibility

telling employees about the organisation’s policies and procedures

investigating accidents, injuries and incidents affecting WHS in their area of responsibility and taking all necessary steps to fix any problems

preparing and submitting regular reports on health and safety when they need to

helping or working together with the safety manager on workplace inspections, audits and risk assessments which they are responsible for

doing workplace inspections, audits and risk assessments appropriate to their area of responsibility

motivating employees to use good health and safety practices.

Scenario: Ace Accounting’s PCBU and officer duties

As a PCBU, Ace Accounting and officers of Ace Accounting comply with Victorian and NSW WHS legal frameworks in the following ways:

All new employees do basic training in first aid and participate in a WHS induction in which they talk about working safely in an office environment.

They only keep a small number of hazardous chemicals on site which they store in a well-ventilated, secure space.

Office equipment, such as photocopiers are in places where there are not many people walking.

Computer cords run safely behind desks, not where people walk

Exit signs and fire/evacuation procedures are in the right place.

Management encourages employees to report incidents or hazards and elect health and safety representatives to represent employee WHS worries to management and WHS authorities and regulatory bodies.

Workers

Workers have some responsibility for work health and safety. Under the WHS Act, workers must:

take reasonable care for their own health and safety

take reasonable care for the health and safety of other staff (what they do or don’t do can affect other people)

comply with instructions that the PCBU gives which complies with the Act

cooperate with their employer when their employer takes action to comply with the WHS Act or Regulations

do any other duties (such as HSR duties) that the worker is responsible for under the Act.

Under the WHS, workers may decide to form a work group, represented by a health and safety representative (HSR) for consultation with management. We will talk about consultation in more detail in the next Section.

Duty of care

Duty of care means that one party is responsible for the care and protection of another party and responsible for any negligence (not taking enough care) in their organisation.

Duty of care is the standard of care that a sensible person would use in a situation when he or she protects the safety of other people (including the general public). If a person is not watchful, attentive careful and prudent, their actions are negligent.

An employer’s duty of care under the various WHS Acts means that they must:

provide and keep a working environment that is safe and has no risks to health as much as is reasonably practicable.

An employee’s duty of care under the various WHS Acts means that they must:

take reasonable care for their health and safety

take reasonable care for the health and safety of other people in the workplace (what they do or don’t do can affect other people)

cooperate with his or her employer when their employer takes action to comply with a requirement of the WHS Act or the Regulations.

Learning activity: Duty holders

Think about your workplace or a workplace you know. Who are the duty holders who have responsibility for making sure staff comply with WHS legislation?

Think about the Ace Accounting scenario. What duty holders exist for Karen to identify?

Section summary

This section talked about skills and knowledge you need to follow the WHS laws, policies and procedures in the workplace. You should now be able to identify designated persons for reporting issues, identify hazards, follow WHS procedures, report incidents, and identify duty holders and their duties.

Further reading

Dunn, C. and Chennell, S., 2012, ‘Part 4: Understanding health and safety risks’ in Australian master work health and safety guide, CCH Australia Limited, NSW.

Dunn, C. E, 2012, Annotated Australian work health and safety legislation, CCH Australia Limited, NSW.

Safe Work Australia, 2011, ‘Model codes of practice’, Safe Work Australia, viewed June 2015, <http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/swa/model-whs-laws/ model-cop/pages/model-cop>.

Safe Work Australia, 2011, ‘Model Work Health and Safety Act’, Safe Work Australia, viewed June 2015, <http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/swa/ model-whs-laws/model-whs-act/pages/model-whs-act>.

Section checklist

Before you proceed to the next section, make sure that you are able to:

identify designated persons for reporting queries and concerns about safety in the workplace

identify current and possible hazards in the workplace, report them to designated persons, and record them according to workplace procedures

identify and implement WHS procedures and work instructions

identify and report emergency incidents and injuries to designated persons according to workplace procedures

identify WHS duty holders in your own work area and their duties.

Section 3 Participate in Consultation

The focus of this section is on consultation: This is the communication between employees and employers about areas of concern. Participation in WHS consultation means cooperation and communication to improve work health and safety. Section 3 talks about:

contributing to meetings and other consultative activities; telling problems to designated persons; and taking action to remove hazards and reduce WHS risk.

Scenario: WHS consultation at Ace Accounting

As an office worker, Karen is just one of a number of WHS duty holders at Ace Accounting. According to the WHS Act, everyone, from the top (senior management) to the middle (line managers) to the bottom (workers), has a responsibility to contribute to a safe workplace. People may have different duties, but everyone has some health and safety responsibilities.

One of the ways the WHS Act encourages involvement and a shared sense of responsibility is by making consultation compulsory. Officers of a PCBU must consult with workers on WHS issues that may affect them.

For Karen, this means she has a responsibility to report problems and hazards to designated persons. In addition, she needs to participate in discussions about safety and be involved in team WHS meetings.

Karen’s additional WHS duties (as a first aid officer and helping the HSR conduct safety inspections) also mean she may need to participate in discussions with her HSR and supervisors about safety and risk management. She may also need to attend meetings of the Ace Accounting Health and Safety Committee (HSC). She may also need to communicate managers’ decisions about safety and consult with members of her own work group.

What skills will you need?

In order to participate in consultation, you must be able to:

contribute to workplace meetings, inspections and other WHS consultative activities

talk about WHS problems with designated persons according to organisational procedures

take actions to eliminate workplace hazards and reduce risks.

Participate in consultation

As previously discussed, the law requires employers to consult with employees on WHS in the workplace. Consultation can take many forms such as:

formal and informal meetings

health and safety committees

health and safety representatives attending management meetings

other committees (for example, planning and purchasing)

early response to employee suggestions, requests, reports and concerns communicated to management

counselling/disciplinary processes.

Workplace consultation is important, not only because it builds a culture of safe behaviour where employees have the power to create their own safe work environments, but also because it is mandatory by law.

Consultation aims to win the support of employees by providing good safety information and by giving all employees the opportunity to say their opinion about safety issues and for management to think about employees’ opinions when they do safety planning.

Involving the right people in consultation

Employers should always involve as many people as possible in consultation to make sure that they hear everyone’s concerns . However, there are some key people and groups that should always be involved in consultation.

The basic framework for consultation on health and safety problems is:

1. work groups

2. health and safety representatives (HSRs)

3. health and safety committees (HSCs).

Work groups

Work groups are teams of workers (or whole workforces in small organisations) which choose health and safety representatives (HSRs) to represent them in health and safety matters.

HSR
HSR
(HSRs) to represent them in health and safety matters. HSR Work group Work group Work group
(HSRs) to represent them in health and safety matters. HSR Work group Work group Work group
(HSRs) to represent them in health and safety matters. HSR Work group Work group Work group
(HSRs) to represent them in health and safety matters. HSR Work group Work group Work group
Work group Work group Work group
Work group
Work group
Work group

Work groups are made up of Workers who share similar working conditions in a workplace. For example the same workplace might have different work groups for day workers and night workers if the risks that each group experiences are different enough.

Work groups should make sure that they have chosen an HSR that they think will represent their concerns. Management and HSTs should consult specific work groups when there is a health and safety concern that exists in their work area or work tasks.

Health and safety representatives (HSRs)

HSRs represent the WHS concerns of their designated work groups. An HSR should make sure that they are thinking about the concerns of the workers who have chosen them to be the HSR when they are doing their tasks (if you want to review the tasks of an HSR, see page 25).

An HSR can consult with a work group or individual workers and take their health and safety complaints and concerns to management. This is especially important when employees believe that control measures for hazards are inadequate.

HSRs are an important communication link between employees and management.

Health and safety committees (HSCs)

HSCs are a way for employers and employees (or their representatives) to meet regularly and work together to talk about and solve WHS concerns. The HSC will usually have worker representatives (HSCs, union representatives), managers and health and safety professionals (WHS managers and advisors). HSC meetings should involve consultation to make sure that meetings discuss the health and safety issues that concern workers.

Health and safety committees may meet to develop policies and procedures that improve health and safety outcomes, and meet the needs of business, for example to minimise cost and maximise productivity.

A committee meeting may include the following activities:

review of the WHS objectives, targets and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators data that shows how well the organisation , team or individual is doing)

review of incident reports and outcomes

employee interviews about WHS issues

identification of changes in the work environment

identification of new hazards

identification of changes in legislation

review of training outcomes

review of changes to policy

review of budget spending and where resource allocation.

Ways for you to participate in consultation

There are many ways to be involved in consultation in your workplace. As a worker in a work group, you may help to choose an HSR who will represent you in consulting on WHS issues. You will be able to report health and safety issues to your HSR and also to your supervisor. You should also use WHS meetings and toolbox talks (see “Participate in toolbox talks” on the next page for a definition) as a chance to talk about any safety issues. You may also have additional WHS duties where you will participate directly in HSCs. For example a work group might elect you as a HSR or deputy HSR. You may also participate in safety inspections.

When you participate, you will contribute to discussion about WHS issues and questions that will be dealt with by the whole organisation. This consultation should result in safety solutions that are effective, and that everyone supports.

Sometimes, however, the consultative process does not always result in quick action. You may then follow appropriate processes to tell the responsible person about a problem and make sure the organisation deals with it.

Participate in regular WHS meetings

WHS meetings may be formal and informal. WHS meetings can include HSC meetings but may also be team meeting or briefings. These meeting will provide you with an opportunity to discuss problems so that the organisation may deal with them appropriately.

Participate in toolbox talks

In some workplaces, such as a warehouse or a construction site, they have regular toolbox talks for all workers (including office staff). Toolbox talks are short meetings to provide the workers with up-to-date safety information. Usually they are run by the site manager, supervisor or team leader.

These workplaces have toolbox talks as often as they need to. For example, in the construction industry, a daily toolbox talk is suitable because hazards and risks change every day (like weather changing all the time).

These workplaces usually use toolbox talks to share information with workers on safe work processes and hazards to look out for. But they are also opportunities for workers to talk about their safety concerns so that those concerns can be addressed.

Participate in inspections or audits

As part of your WHS duties, you may participate in safety inspections or audits as discussed in Section 2. You need to record the results of safety inspections so that anyone can view them and check them when they need to. You should record these results in the way that organisational processes and procedures require. HSRs and HSCs can also look at the results so that the whole organisation can consult with each other and discuss and think of the best safety solutions for the workplace.

Example: Resolving issues through consultation

The Ace Accounting staff in Sydney work similar hours under similar conditions. They asked their manager to start a work group of all the workers at the Sydney office. The work group elected one of the display staff as HSR.

Some of the responsibilities of the HSR were:

report hazards and issues that workers told them about to Ace Accounting management

participate in HSC meetings with other HSRs, Ace Accounting managers and senior management.

Several workers complained about the possibility of lifting injuries when they move large boxes of tax files.

The HSR arranged a meeting to get more information and discuss options for dealing with the hazard. The HSR then met with the HSC and discussed the problem with senior management.

Coincidentally, the Melbourne office had also discussed lifting hazards. The HSC decided to review and redevelop procedures with a focus group of workers. Management told workers in all Australian cities about changes to procedures during team meetings with workers. They had short training sessions in all offices to demonstrate the new manual lifting procedures.

Escalating issues and complaints

Escalating is a word that describes when you take an issue (problem) to a higher level of management.

Normally, the organisation identifies and solves WHS issues after employees tell them about an issue in one of these ways:

WHS meetings

emails to or meetings with HSRs

contacting health and safety committees

contacting management

contacting relevant unions

contacting relevant WHS state government authorities, if management and WHS representatives do not act on concerns

The relevant supervisor or HSR will then tell their manager and it will continue up levels of management until the appropriate people know about the issue and resolve it. This process of escalation follows organisational policies and procedures relevant to escalating issues and dealing with WHS risks.

The way employees escalate an issue depends on how serious the issue is and what the policies and procedures are. If the policies and procedures don’t result in the resolution of the issue, you might need to find a different way.

For example, to report a hazard or complaint, you could:

1. Speak to your supervisor.

2. If no action is taken, then speak to your HSR.

3. If the issue is serious and you receive no assistance in dealing with it from your workplace, then you can choose to contact the relevant WHS government or statutory authority.

Note that, escalating the problem to your state or territory statutory authority may result in an inspection of your workplace.

Learning activity: Consultation

Visit WorkCover NSW and download the document Work health and safety consultation, cooperation and coordination code of practice at:

<http://www.workcover.nsw.gov.au/ data/assets/pdf_file/0010/15202/whsconsult

ation-cooperation-coordination-code-of-practice-3568.pdf>

Read through Appendix A of the code of practice (‘Examples of consultation arrangements’).

Consider your workplace or a workplace you know.

What consultation methods do they use?

How effective are these arrangements?

How can you improve consultation in your workplace?

Assess risk

As discussed previously, you may have special WHS duties in your workplace such as doing safety inspections to identify risks to health and safety. Your duties may extend to helping designated persons to formally assess risks.

Risk assessment is a process you can use to rate the level of risk of a hazard. When you identify a hazard, you will need to assess the risk of the hazard. Assessing the risk then allows you or others to determine the control that is needed to manage the risk. Multiple controls or backup systems may be necessary to make sure that the most potentially harmful situations do not happen.

Obviously, when you assess a risk, you need to think carefully about the risk that particular hazards pose to your workplace. Risk assessment is a tool to make it easy to make a decision, particularly when it is not clear to everybody what the risk is. If you are not sure, follow the risk assessment process and ask an expert for advice when you need it.

The following method to assess risk is based on risk assessment models from the National Safety Council of Australia and the international standard for risk management, AS/NZS ISO 31000:2009.

The method that they use to rate the level of risk makes people think about two factors:

The likelihood is the risk constant, repeating or will the risk only happen once?

The consequence if it happened, how serious would it be?

Likelihood

The likelihood of a WHS risk is how often an incident is likely tohappen. Some hazards could be a daily threat to safety, while others may occur rarely. A sample scale to rate the risk likelihood appears below.

Likelihood

Description

Detail

1

Rare

Incidents may happen only in special circumstances.

2

Unlikely

Incidents will only happen in some circumstances.

3

Moderate

Incidents should occur at some time.

4

Likely

Incidents will probably happen in most circumstances.

5

Almost certain

Incidents will happen in most circumstances.

Consequence

Incidents, whatever their frequency, have the possibility to cause different amounts of damage (personal injury or damage to plant and equipment). So, when you do a risk assessment you must think about the possible consequence of an incident. This chart is an example of levels of consequences. It is important to remember that these levels of consequences may be different in different organisations.

Consequence

Description

Detail

Potential $ cost

1

Insignificant

No visible impact (no injuries, damage, pollution, etc.)

$0

   

May need minor first aid treatment or the incident is only on-site.

Less than

2

Minor

$1,000

   

The victim needs medical treatment

 

3

Moderate

or the incident is on-site, but with outside help.

Less than

$5,000

   

The incident causes a great injury.

 

4

Major

Work stops or the incident is not contained on-site.

Less than

$50,000

5

Catastrophic

A really big impact which effects the victim permanently resulting in high health costs, death, or disfigurement (a big change to how a person’s body looks such as losing an arm).

$100,000+

To determine the level of risk or risk factor, the likelihood is multiplied by the consequence.

Level of risk

Risk assessment matrix

Likelihood
Likelihood

Consequence

The risk assessment matrix shows the level of risk. Generally, as the risk score increases, the need to put some immediate controls in place to provide a safe place of work increases. In addition, the level of the effectiveness and reliability of the control you need to use to manage the risk increases also You can figure out the level of control that you need to use by using the hierarchy of control, which we will look at in more detail in the next topic.

In the risk matrix, a score of 8 is the score at which a medium risk becomes a high risk. When this happens you need a control or multiple controls immediately to remove or manage the hazard.

There are a number of combinations that result from the risk assessment model we are using. For example, you can assess a hazard as having a high likelihood but low consequence, such as a knife cut injury (moderately frequent, so a 3 on the likelihood rating) resulting in a minor injury (a 2 on the consequence rating). This combination would result in a score or risk factor of 6 on the risk assessment matrix.

The raw score in the matrix, however, still requires some additional assessment. For example, in another combination, a hazard may be rare (1 on the likelihood scale), but have a catastrophic consequence (5 on the consequence scale). This combination would result in a raw score of only 5. As we will see below, however, an immediate control for this type of hazard is necessary to ensure safety and compliance with the law.

Consider the risk assessment matrix below:

   

Likelihood

 

1

2

3

4

5

1 1

2

3

4

5

2 2

4

6

8

10

 

3 3

6

9

12

15

4 4

8

12

16

20

5 5

10

15

20

25

Now look at the following chart to determine the level of controls you need for the assessed risk levels.

13

Low risk hazard. You may need controls at low level but not immediately.

46

Medium risk hazard. You should think about controls at a higher level more urgently.

5

Possible high risk hazard. If severe, the law may require controls at the highest possible level.

8

High risk threshold. Immediate controls are mandatory at the highest possible level.

925

High risk hazard. Immediate controls or multiple controls are mandatory at the highest possible level.

Tip: Risk management apps

The following apps may be useful for risk management, particularly for identifying, assessing WHS risk, and recording the results of assessment for use by others:

App name

Function, use

Link

Audit Health & Safety Risk Assessment

 

<http://www.gocanvas.com/mobileforms-

Health and Safety Risk Assessment Audit for Apple, Android, Blackberry and Windows devices.

apps/1628-Audit-Health-Safety-

Risk-Assessment-Safety-Link>

iJSA

Job safety analysis, including photos; for Apple devices.

<http://www.safetyculture.com.au/

ijsa/>

Learning activity: Assess risk

In the learning activity ‘Do a safety inspection’ on page 38, you chose an area at home or at work and used the checklist in Appendix 7 to do a safety inspection. For the hazards you identified in that activity, use the risk matrix to assess the risk level for each risk.

For each of the risks, do you need controls?

Are there any risks for which the model does not require controls?

Would you be comfortable doing nothing related to the risk?

What would a reasonable person do in this case?

What is your legal responsibility? Review Section 1, or ask an expert for advice, if you are unsure.

Take action: Eliminate or control risk

Once you have identified and assessed a hazard, you should take appropriate actions to either eliminate the risk or reduce the risk to a reasonable level. Legislation, codes of practice or guidance may tell what you must or should do. If standards or legislation don’t tell you what control you need, then you should think about an appropriate control.

It depends on your responsibilities - it may be your job to:

think of actions to reduce the level of risk

use the hierarchy of control

make or record recommendations on reports

explain actions or decisions to workers.

Reduce the level of risk

Controls will reduce the likelihood or consequence of a hazard. Two examples are:

If a general storage area was overcrowded causing a trip hazard, then putting soft carpet in the storage area will reduce consequence of that type of hazard. If you reduced the number of people working in the area, or made sure staff put boxes on shelves, it would reduce the likelihood of an accident.

If a smoke detector failed, this could cause or contribute to a major incident. If you replace the batteries and test the smoke detector each year, you reduce the likelihood of failure. If you use fire-resistant materials in products, it reduces the consequence of any fire that might happen.

The idea is to reduce the risk level (Likelihood x Consequence) to as low a number on the risk matrix as possible. Take the example discussed above in relation to the risk matrix. A possible knife cut injury (moderately frequent, so a 3 on the likelihood rating) could result in a minor injury (a 2 on the consequence rating). This combination results in a risk score of 6 on the matrix. By using personal protective equipment, the likelihood rating may be reduced from 3 to 2, which reduces the score on the risk matrix to 4.

It is important to note that if one hazard is identified, it does not mean that one control will adequately manage the risk. If there are more controls that you can use to manage the risk, you must consider and use all of them, if possible and appropriate. For example, if there are no smoke detectors in an office, this creates a hazard if there is a fire. After you identify the hazard, installing a smoke detector may not be enough to reduce the risk of fire injuries. So, the office may install a smoke detector, but also a fire extinguisher to reduce the risk to an acceptable level.

It is also important to note that there may be alternative control measures to think about, not only the normal responses to risk. Using common sense or finding out what is usually done to reduce risk might not be enough. It is important to think about creative solutions where the usual solutions may not be enough. Ask yourself if the alternative control can be more effective in reducing risk. Not doing something about a hazard because it has always been considered a ‘necessary’ risk or not using inadequate control measures because ‘it has always been done that way’ is not enough to avoid prosecution for negligence under various state or territory WHS Acts.

Hierarchy of controls

The hierarchy of hazard control is the main tool that organisations can use to rank possible approaches to reducing or removing a risk. The hierarchy is:

1

Elimination

The elimination of the hazard itself or associated risk.

2

Substitution

Use a less hazardous substitute.

3

Engineering control

Put a barrier (guard) around the hazard to reduce the associated risks.

4

Administrative control

Provide procedures or instructions to control the use or exposure to the hazard and so reduce the risk.

5

PPE (personal protective equipment)

Have a personal barrier by using protective equipment to reduce the risk of injury to an individual.

The idea of the hierarchy of control is to first try to eliminate the hazard. If you can’t eliminate the hazard, try replacing the hazard with something less hazardous. If you can’t do this, then redesign the work environment using barriers or designated walk ways, for example. Work your way down the hierarchy until you have identified a control at the highest possible level.

Let’s look at some examples of controls at various levels in the hierarchy.

Example 1: Hierarchy of control

Control type

Description

Elimination

Through better design or total elimination, the hazards are designed out of the workplace or work method. For example, you secure or cover a loose cable that may cause a fall. The hazard no longer exists.

Remove or

 

substitute

You remove or substitute the hazard with a less hazardous piece of equipment, material or substance. For example, you replace plug-in drills with cordless drills. When you do this you reduce the hazard associated with using drills in small spaces (such as dropping them) because you don’t have to deal with cords.

Engineering

You protect people from the hazard by creating a barrier between the hazard and the employee. If it is a dangerous chemical you can dilute it, or if it’s a dangerous gas you can use exhaust ventilation. For example, you can use a railing or if you already have one you can make it higher to prevent falls or to prevent objects falling onto workers from above.

Administrative

 

controls

You reorganise or redevelop work tasks to reduce the risk. For example, you use new, safer, manual handling procedures. You can support these procedures with training or by telling the relevant people in the organisation.

Example 1: Hierarchy of control

Personal

This level of the hierarchy is usually the last resort. Personal protective equipment puts a protective barrier on the employee. For example, visitors wear helmets on construction sites to protect them from the risk of injuries.

protective

equipment

(PPE)

By applying the hierarchy of controls, you maximise the likelihood of a safe workplace and provide the highest chance of complying with your WHS legal obligations.

Eliminating a potential risk or designing a solution is better than an administrative solution such as training, putting up warning signs, or providing protective equipment, as these controls don’t rely on people following the procedures.

Let’s look at an example of how to apply the hierarchy.

Example 2: Hierarchy of control

At Ace Accounting, employees need to keep customer tax records for five years. They keep some customer account information in files in heavy boxes. Sometimes employees must lift these boxes to store them on shelves. The shelves are in the employee common area. There are two risks with these boxes:

Employees may get injuries when they lift the boxes

The boxes may fall from shelves.

Can you eliminate the hazard?

Eliminate the

If not:

hazard

Can you substitute less hazardous material or can you use equipment? For example, could everyone use electronic files?

 

If not:

Can you use engineering controls (barriers, etc.) to reduce the hazard? For example, could you keep the files in a closet with door closed?

If not:

Can you use procedures or instructions to control or reduce the hazard? For example, could you use safe lifting or storage procedures?

Manage the

If not:

hazard

Can you use training or information to control or reduce the hazard? For example, could you train employees on safe procedures or consult with employees for their ideas on safe handling? Could you use safety posters?

If not:

Can the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) reduce the hazard? For example: Could you ask all employees to wear helmets when entering file storage areas?

Participate in Consultation

As we discussed earlier, when you assess risk, you may choose to use a combination of these control measures on the hierarchy to manage the hazard/risk.

For each proposed control, it is important to look at the likelihood or consequence associated with the risk again, calculate the risk factor again, and assess the risk again. In this way, you will be able to determine if your proposed controls are enough or if different or multiple controls are necessary to meet your ethical and legal obligations to make sure you have a safe workplace.

Learning activity: Hierarchy of controls

In the learning activity ‘do a safety inspection’ on page 38, you performed a safety inspection using the checklist in the appendices. What hazards did you identify?

Assess the risk associated with the hazard. Apply the hierarchy of control to the hazards you identified.

What controls would you implement? Why?

Make and record recommendations

When you have conducted a safety inspection or risk assessment for a particular hazard, it is important to make recommendations that will improve safety. If you find and record a compliance issue and you don’t recommend solutions you could be at risk of prosecution for negligence. Also, depending on your organisational responsibilities, you will need to follow consultation, reporting and recording processes to make sure your recommendations for the treatment of WHS risk are implemented.

Your workplace should have policies and procedures for consultation on WHS issues. As discussed, these could include a requirement to tell or consult with HSRs or HSCs.

It is important for you to make appropriate recommendations to these people to meet legal and organisational requirements. The law may also require you to communicate and consult with relevant employees on implementation of your proposed actions.

Templates used in the workplace to monitor compliance may also require you to suggest solutions to particular hazards to reduce risk. You may need to identify hazards on a form and list your suggestions to reduce or eliminate the hazard. These templates could include hazard reports and WHS risk registers. There is an example of these in the appendices of this Student Workbook.

Note that you may need to ask for the advice of WHS experts to make recommendation to reduce risk.

Learning activity: Treating hazards

Watch the video ‘BSBCMN311B: Workplace hazards’ on IBSA’s YouTube channel at

<http://youtu.be/o62UH2W-90I>.

James Milliken is the national sales director of Polite Enterprises, a company focusing on safety management and consultancy.

List the workplace hazards discussed in the video.

What measures did they take to deal with three of these hazards?

Participate in Consultation

What measures did they take to deal with hazards for pedestrians (people walking) in and outside the warehouse?

Check your answers in Appendix 9 of this Student Workbook.

Communicate recommendations to workers

Depending on your WHS responsibilities, you may be responsible for explaining new controls, processes or management decisions to workers. You may communicate to workers using such methods as:

WHS meetings Team briefings Toolbox Talks
WHS meetings
Team briefings
Toolbox Talks

Note that laws or procedures may also require you to train workers on new processes or procedures to make sure they have the skills and knowledge that they need to work safely.

Learning activity: Make recommendations

Consider the Ace Accounting scenario. Imagine that Karen’s work group and her HSR has elected her to function as the HSR deputy.

Paper is always getting stuck in the photocopier and some employees have recently cut themselves when trying to get the paper out.

Ace Accounting procedures require Karen to fill in a risk register and inform her HSR and manager. Her manager must also sign the report.

Use the risk register in Appendix 8 to record the hazard and recommend controls to the HSR and management.

Imagine Karen has reported the hazard and discussed her recommendations in an HSC meeting. Based on the HSC’s recommendations, management has Karen’s recommended controls.

Think about how Karen could communicate the changes to her work group.

What training, if any, might they need?

Section summary

This section discussed skills and knowledge you need to participate in consultation .You should now be able to contribute to meetings and other consultative activities, tell designated persons within the organisation about WHS problems, and take action to eliminate hazards and reduce WHS risk, including risk assessment and implementing controls.

Further reading

Dunn, C. and Chennell, S., 2012, ‘Part 3: principles of managing workplace health and safety’ in Australian master work health and safety guide, CCH Australia Limited, NSW.

Dunn, C., 2012, Annotated Australian work health and safety legislation, CCH Australia Limited, NSW.

Safe Work Australia, 2011, How to manage work health and safety risks, available online, Safe Work Australia, viewed June 2015, <http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/SWA/about/Publications/Documents

/633/How_to_Manage_Work_Health_and_Safety_Risks.pdf>.

Safe Work Australia, 2011, ‘Model codes of practice’, Safe Work Australia, viewed June 2015, <http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/swa/model- whslaws/model-cop/pages/model-cop>.

Safe Work Australia, 2011, Work health and safety consultation, co-operation and co-ordination code of practice, available online, Safe Work Australia, viewed June 2015, <http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/sites/SWA/about/Publications/

Documents/624/Work_Health_and_Safety_Consultation_CoOperation_and_

CoOrdination.pdf>.

Standards Australia, 2009, AS/NZS ISO 31000:2009 Risk management principles and guidelines.

Participate in Consultation

Section checklist

Before you proceed to the next section, make sure that you are able to:

contribute to workplace meetings, inspections and other WHS consultative activities

raise WHS issues with designated persons according to organisational procedures

take actions to elimi