Industry requirements (standards)
The legislation contains provisions that require the employer to consult with employees on issues of safety, health and welfare.
It applies to large and small business and also to the self-employed.
What are Employers occupational health and safety responsibilities?
Section 8(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000 (OHS Act 2000) states that as an employer you 'must ensure the health, safety and welfare at work of all the employees'.
To meet your responsibilities under the OHS Act 2000, you must provide:
Safe machinery and substances
Safe systems of work
Provision of information, instruction, training and supervision
Suitable working environment and facilities.
The Act also states that you are responsible for the health and safety of people other than your workers, who may be present. at the workplace.
As an employer, ensure your workers' safety by providing:
A workplace that is without risk to health, safety and welfare
Safe and adequate machinery, equipment and substances
Appropriate plans, procedures, work methods
Suitable instruction, information, training and supervision
Adequate resources, including qualified personnel.
Implement occupational health and safety (OHS) policy and procedures
Identify workplace hazards
Monitor and enforce corrective action
Consult with your workers and occupational health and safety committee/representative
Provide relevant induction and ongoing training
Respond to OHS issues raised by your workers or OHS committee/representative, and
Take corrective action where possible
Submit statistics and reports
Develop appropriate occupational health and safety solutions
Ensure systems of work are reviewed and continuously improved.
Company directors, managers and supervisors
Although the Act places the ultimate responsibility for the health, safety and welfare of all workers on the employer, section 26 of the Act extends the occupational health and safety (OHS) responsibility of the employee to company directors, managers and supervisors.
Managers and supervisors are directly responsible for OHS within areas under their control.
If they are in a position to influence the conduct of the organisation or those involved, the responsibility is extended to any area where a health and safety hazard exists.
Employers have a variety of obligations in relation to the working environment. These particular requirements relate to:
Clause 45 of the Occupational Health and Safely Regulation 2001 (OHS Regulation 2001) states that employers must:
- provide sufficient working space to allow people to work safely
- ensure that floors and surfaces are constructed and maintained to minimise the possibility of slips, trips and falls
- ensure that people are able to move about a place of work safely and unhindered.
Clause 46 of the OHS Regulation 2001 states that employers must:
provide adequate lighting to allow workers to work safely, move safely, and enter and exit the workplace safely (including from emergency exits)
ensure that there is not excessive glare or reflection
ensure that lighting allows persons who are not workers to move safely within the place of work.
Hot and cold working environments
Clauses 47 and 48 of the OHS Regulation 2001 state that employers must:
Provide adequate ventilation and air movement in indoor environments that may become hot.
Provide adequate access to heated or sheltered areas and warm clothing or other personal protective equipment if employees are exposed to cold.
Provide appropriate work and rest regimes relative to physical fitness, general health, medication taken and body weight appropriate for both hot and cold working environments.
Clause 49 of the OHS Regulation 2001 states that employers must:
Not allow exposure to noise levels that exceed an eight hour noise equivalent of 85 dB(A) or peak at more than 140 dB(C).
The OHS Regulation 2001 also states that employers have responsibilities in relation to:
Atmosphere - keeping exposure to atmospheric contaminants as low as practicable and
Maintaining adequate ventilation (clauses 50-55)
Working at heights- prevention of falls, falling objects, scaffolding, lifts, brittle or fragile roof, building maintenance (clauses 56-61)
Fire prevention (clause 62)
Electricity (clauses 63-65)
Confined spaces (clauses 66-78)
Manual handling (clauses 79-81).
Workers : Employees Occupational health and safety responsibilities.
Section 20 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000 states that you must:
Take reasonable care for the health and safety of your co-workers who may be affected by your actions
Co-operate with your employer in anything that they do or require, in order to ensure safety.
Ensure that your actions do not put others at risk
Use and maintain machinery and equipment properly
Ensure that your work area is free of hazards.
Co-operating with your employer may include:
Notifying your supervisor of actual and potential hazards wearing or using prescribed safety equipment and carrying out work in a safe manner
Following health and safety instructions
Taking notice of signs
Adhering to speed limits
Participating in safety training.
Section 21 of the Act states that you must not intentionally or recklessly interfere with or misuse anything provided in the interests of health, safety and welfare.
You must not:
Move or defacing signs
Tamper with warning alarms
Remove machine guards
Behave in a way that results in risk to others.
Section 22 states that you must not be charged for anything that your employer provides or does in relation to occupational health and safety (OHS).
You should not:
Be asked to pay for a training course that your employer deems necessary to the safe system of work.
Be required to provide your own personal protective equipment.
Be required to pay for equipment that is required to do the job safely.
Lose pay or time if you are working as an OHS representative or on an OHS committee.
Section 23 protects you from dismissal or demotion should you raise any health and safety issues. Section 24 states that you must not intentionally hinder or obstruct:
The giving or receiving of any form of aid when a co-worker is (injured at work
Any act to avoid or prevent a serious risk to the health and safety of a co-worker.
Section 25 states that you must not deliberately create a risk to the health and safety of your co-workers, such as with a bomb threat or intentional false alarm.