What is Work Health and Safety?

Work health and safety (WHS), sometimes called occupational health and safety (OH&S), involves the management of risks to the health and safety of everyone in your workplace.

This includes the health and safety of anyone who does work for you as well as your customers, visitors and suppliers. Everyone has a right to be safe at work, including volunteers. Volunteers play a vital role in communities across Australia and make significant contributions by carrying out unpaid work for a variety of organisations every day.

It may initially cost money and time to implement safe practices and install safety equipment but is critical to the success of your organisation. Not taking action could also result in prosecution, fines and loss of your skilled staff.

Workers’ compensation laws also require you to have a workers’ compensation insurance policy for your employees.

Workplace Inspections

One aspect of workplace safety that is often overlooked is inspecting any workplace at least once a year, before work begins. This includes when you first go out to a new sports field or when visiting clients’ homes. You should:

    • Look and think about any hazards that could cause any harm.
    • Decide how dangerous the hazards are and how likely they are to cause an incident.
    • Work out a way to minimise the risk.

The following forms have been designed to make this as easy as possible:
This form can be used to do your site inspection. You should print out several for most medium sized work sites. Even with a laptop, it’s a bit of a hassle to do this directly into the computer because you need to walk around the entire workplace to inspect it properly.
OHS Inspection Summary Form (89 KB)

This sample gives some ideas about how the form could look when completed.
OHS Inspection Summary (Sample) (128 KB)

When an Injury Occurs

When there is an injury at work, the injured worker must:

    • Seek medical attention.
    • Notify the employer as soon as possible.
    • Record their name, the date and cause of the injury in the employer’s Register of Injuries.
    • Sign the WorkCover medical certificate (if one is required).
    • Participate in and cooperate with the development and implementation of an injury management plan.
    • Comply with requests made by the insurance company with regard to a claim.
    • Make all efforts to return to work as soon as possible.

Your organisation must have a registry of injuries – a record of any injuries that have happened at the workplace. They can be ordered from the WorkCover Publications Hotline on 1800 658 134 (Monday to Friday – 9am to 5pm). They have carbon paper built in  so that there are automatically three copies made – one for the person who is injured, one for the organisation and one to send off to the insurance company. Often, your workers compensation insurer provides the register of injury report forms in a format they prefer.

Your Workers Compensation Insurance company should also provide posters on what to do if an accident occurs. These must be displayed in the staff area.

WHS Training

Follow this link to a site that can help you find an WHS trainer in your town or area. It lists all trainers accredited by WorkCover and who use WHS training courses developed by WorkCover – http://www.workcover.nsw.gov.au/