Most people I speak to and consult for, find the OHS Act to be confusing and daunting to try and understand. For business owners there are a few simple rules that you need to follow to aid in keeping your company safety compliant.
The first thing is to remember and understand the roles and responsibilities you have as a business owner. As far as health and safety goes your first and foremost duty is to keep your staff safe by using all practicable means.
What this means is that you shall provide a safe working environment by using effective, yet affordable means. The OHS Act provides us with guidelines of the minimum requirements in all different the working scenarios.
This is where most clients start getting confused and unsure if they are taking the right steps towards safety compliance. I have provided a list and description of basic steps that you need to follow in all working environments to ensure you are compliant as well as effectively minimising incidents in the workplace.
- A system needs to be created and accessible – this system is for record keeping of all safety issues, findings and achievements. You always want and need to have some form of evidence to hand over to any authorities that may request it this includes insurance companies and safety inspectors.
- The system needs to have a few basic requirements in place – you will need to have either in the file or displayed in the workplace a copy of the OHS act, COID act, and labour laws. Appointed safety reps, fire marshals and evacuation marshals. Master documents for appointments, safety checklists and incident investigations.
- The above is your starting point, once you have the generic information in place the site specific information shall be collected – This includes drawing up safe work instructons and procedures which instructs safe ways in which to carry out activities in the workplace.
- A risk assessment and safety audit which should be done externally to begin the safety system and then internal assessments done yearly and external assesments recomended every twu years. This allows you two know how to correctly safeguard your employees and assets from any incidents.
- emergency procedures need to be drawn up – This will include evacuation plans to show where to evauate if the building is big and confusing as well as written procedures. The written procedures are to point out roles and responsibilities, where to go and how as well as where everyone should meet and what needs to be taken to the assembly point.
- Training is an integral part of a safety system - 5% of your staff shall be trained in fire safety and evacuation strategies while 0ne in every fifty employees needs to be trained in first aid.
Once all of the above is in order and filed in the safety system you should be compliant but you would still need to maintain compliance on a monthly basis. For example – you are required to check all of your safety equipment every month, documenting your findings and any deviations. A general premises check shall be done every month looking at plug points, lighting, housekeeping, evacuation routes and signage. Lastly a monthly safety meeting needs to be carried out assessing your current safety situation and discussing any incidents that may have occured within the previous month.
The main reoson for having a correct complete safety system is that you are aware and prepared for any imidiate dangers and by doing the monthly safety checks correctly you could be able to early detect a warning sign that could be deadly.
Looking at everything you need to achieve to be safety compliant looks like too much to handle if you do not have anything, as you do not know where to start. I assure you that getting proffessionals to assist you in the initial assessments and set up of the safety system. They will be able to leave you compliant and compitent to maintain compliance in-house.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you require any further assistance. I am able to tailor make a system for you according to your needs and requirements.
Thanks for reading