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A Compliant Workplace = A Safe Workplace

While it's good to have a compliant workplace, it's even better to have a safe workplace.

Apart from the risk of fines of up to $3m for corporations and $600k and/or 5 years gaol for individuals found to have breached the Work Health & Safety Act, work-related accidents and illnesses can result in lost productivity, time, reputation, not to mention the personal and social costs.

How safe and compliant are your workplaces? As a starting point, ask yourself the following questions:

Management commitment - Is a Work Health and Safety (WHS) policy currently available?; Is there evidence available to demonstrate management commitment to WHS? (eg. Statement of WHS Commitment, allocation of time/budget?)

Consultation and communication - Is there a clear, agreed and effective process in place to communicate, consult, and coordinate with all workers in relation to WHS matters?; Are workers involved in decisions that may impact their work health and safety?(e.g. purchase of new plant and equipment); Is there an appropriate WHS Issue Resolution procedure in place?

Risk Management Are there clear mechanisms in place for reporting and investigating risks, hazards, incidents and injuries?; Are there appropriate procedures and resources in place to deal with emergencies and administer first aid, if required?; Are workers and relevant others provided with appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as and when required, and trained to use it?

Safe Work Procedures - Have key tasks performed within the workplace been assessed from a WHS perspective, and if required to do so, could you provide evidence?; Are Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS) and/or Safe Operating Procedures (SOPs) in place for key workplace tasks and to guide the safe operation of equipment?; Have workers been involved in risk assessments and the development of SWMS and/or SOPs?

Training, Competency and Supervision - Does WHS forms part of your induction program for new workers?; Are training records available for all WHS training?; Is there evidence to demonstrate that workers have been trained in key tasks, SWMS and SOPs?; Do workers have the necessary licences/certifications to complete the work required (eg.forkliftlicences, trade qualifications)?

Reporting Safety and Records Management - Are you aware of your obligation to notify SafeWork NSW of fatalities, serious injuries, illnesses and dangerous incidents?; If required, could the business provide evidence of reporting systems and/or records management relevant to WHS?; Are WHS records retained for at least 5 years?

Workers Compensation and Return to Work - Does the business have current and appropriate workers compensation insurance?; Are all injury claims reported to the insurer within 48hrs, or as otherwise required?; Is there evidence that, as required, the business supports injured workers to return to work as quickly as possible, even if on "suitable duties"?

Contractors - If contractors are engaged, have you sighted evidence that they have policies, procedures and systems necessary to undertake the work?; Are contractors included in WHS inductions and, as required, WHS-related consultation and training?; Are there documented procedures in place to appropriately manage WHS issues between the business and contractors?

Need further information?

Download your complimentary copy of our WHS Ready Reckoner via the RESOURCES/FREE TEMPLATES & TOOLS page of our website, and/or contact Greg or Emma on 1300 783 211 or via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for further information or assistance.

This article provides general information only, is not exhaustive and may not apply in all cases. This information should not be regarded as legal advice. If you are unsure, you should seek advice relating to your specific situation.

This article was first published by the Penrith CBD Corporation as part of their Small Business Opportunities booklet.

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