Occupational health and safety (OHS) in the workplace requires an effective systematic approach with strategies to control and monitor OHS risks and which is consistent with relevant OHS legislative requirements.
The six point systematic approach to OHS
To implement effective occupational health and safety management, managers, supervising personnel and employees require a range of systematic OHS strategies based on clearly defined practices, procedures and systems. The use of a six point systematic approach to OHS as outlined below will enable the organisation to achieve this.
1. Develop an OHS policy and related programs
2. Set up an effective consultation mechanism with stakeholders and key personnel
3. Integrate OHS into the overall safety management system
4. Establish a hazard identification and workplace assessment process
5. Develop and implement risk control
6. Promote, maintain and improve these strategies
Strategies to control and monitor OHS
Strategies to control and monitor OHS risks are important but they are not stand alone mechanisms. They must be an integrated part of a systematic, overall approach to OHS. By developing the six point systematic approach to OHS, the workplace will be able to implement targeted strategies to control and monitor OHS risks by:
1. Addressing OHS legislation, regulations and codes of practice
2. Establishing, implementing and monitoring a documented OHS system
3. Fulfilling the duty of care towards those in the workplace
4. Identifying hazards, and assessing and preventing, minimising and controlling risks and
5. Contributing to participative and consultative procedures for the management of OHS.
Commitment and policy
For ABC Engineering the first step in the systematic approach to OHS is to develop a comprehensive OHS policy and related programs. In this way the policy will set out the commitment of the organisation to OHS and will document the accountabilities for OHS across the organisation. The OHS policy for ABC Engineering is attached in Appendix 1.
To fulfill the commitments of the OHS policy and ensure effective two-way interaction with stakeholders and key personnel the following means of consultation are to be employed:
1. Safety/toolbox meetings
2. OHS representatives and committee
3. Quarterly addresses by the General Manager
4. Company intranet and staff room notice boards
ABC Engineering is to also maintain an OHS committee to consider issues that are of significance and the committee also assists in the development of new health and safety initiatives. The OHS committee is to be comprised of employer representatives from the safety and training areas, one management team member and employee representatives from all operational crews and permanent contractors. It is the responsibility of employee representatives to communicate information back to their crews and to gather the views of personnel with regards to any issues being addressed. Within each operational department every crew conducts their own OHS monthly meetings.
To ensure OHS becomes an accepted part of working life and to assist the organisation to move to a proactive and resilient OHS maturity, OHS must be integrated into the overall safety management system. This required a review of the legislative requirements governing OHS for this worksite. The Commonwealth and the state of Western Australia have both enacted legislation that establishes general duties for workplace parties to ensure healthy and safe working conditions.
The OHS legislative regime consists of principal OHS Acts that codify the duty of care under common law, underpinned by more detailed requirements set out in regulations. Codes of practice provide practical guidance to duty holders on how to achieve the standard of health and safety required in the Act and...