The Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act sets out the laws about health and safety requirements affecting workplaces, work activities and the use of plant and substances. Besides that, the OHS Act is an essential framework in the workplace to cultivate good safety habits in all individuals so as to stimulate a strong safety culture in the workplace. The Act establishes a framework for people by preventing or minimising their exposure to risk. One of the key features of the OHS Act is that it establishes a workplace health and safety board that encourages industry participation and cooperation. Another feature is that the OHS Act imposes workplace health and safety obligations on people who may affect the health and safety of others by what they do or fail to do. It is important to know that the OHS does not only affect the employers, but also the workers and everyone in the workplace too. Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, employers have responsibilities for their workers and any other persons who may be present at their workplace. An employer can be defined as any person or organization that has engaged the services of others, and in this case, the employer will be the ‘Body Beautiful’ corporation. Of course, the workers also have a part to play in the OHS Act. Generally, a worker has a broader definition than an employee and a worker is defined someone who receives wages or commission, regardless of the number of hours worked each week, and includes workers who work away from the employer’s premises. An employer must ensure the health, safety and welfare at work of all employees. The duty of employers is the broad duty of care under common law. Basically, the employer has a duty to provide safe premises; a duty to provide safe plant and equipment and a duty to provide a safe work system. Employers are required to: •provide and maintain a safe working environment
•provide and maintain safe plant and systems of work (including, for example, identifying, assessing and controlling hazards) •provide information, instruction and supervision of employees to ensure health and safety •ensure the safe use, storage and handling of substances •provide adequate facilities for staff
•have consultation with employees/Health and Safety Representatives about OHS. All employees, from managers down, should have their OHS responsibilities included in their duty statements or job descriptions. It is the employer's responsibility to ensure that this occurs as part of the supervision of the workers. Employees also must take reasonable care of the health and safety of themselves and others and must co-operate with employers in their efforts to comply with occupational health and safety requirements. The employees responsibilities defined in the OHS Act are as follows: •take reasonable care to ensure their own safety
•not place others at risk by any act or omission
•follow safe work procedures
•use and care for equipment as instructed
•not recklessly interfere with safety equipment
•report hazards and injuries
In addition to the duty of employers to ensure the health and safety of their own employees, an additional duty is generally placed on employers to take reasonable care to ensure, as far as is practicable, the health and safety of persons who are not their employees is not adversely affected as a result of the work the employer and their employees do. It is hence important to note that not everyone in the workplace, be it the employers or employees have a part to play in the OHS Act and it takes the cooperation of everyone to create a safe workplace for all.
Task 2: Identifying Hazards and Managing Risk
Workers in a construction site may be exposed to various hazardous substances and physical agents. Excessive exposures to these substances/agents may result in acute injury, chronic illness, permanent disability or even death. Loss of...