How to achieve health and safety compliance

OHS compliance
All businesses must comply with health and safety laws, no matter how small. With our advice, your business can comply with OHS legislation by following eight simple steps.  

As an employer, or a self-employed person, it is your duty to ensure health and safety is never compromised in the workplace. By taking the right precautions, the risk of dangers are reduced and you are providing a safe place for the people who work there. 

Complying with OHS laws does not have to be complicated. To assist with the development and implementation of effective OHS management regimes and training for you and your workers start by following the eight simple steps listed below. While this list is by no means exhaustive, it will start you on the path of managing safety in your business well.

If you require more detailed advice, or training, ask our consultants to provide the assessment and direction you need with an independent consultation. 

Steps for safety compliance

Every business is responsible for complying with the law. Follow these eight steps for achieving compliance with occupational health and safety legislation.

Appointing a person in the business with responsibility for health and safety matters is important to ensure compliance is focused on and achieved. To be competent, a Health and Safety Manager needs to have the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to carry out their duties and to ensure that the organisation is compliant with OHS legislation.

As a business owner or manager, you can appoint yourself, one or more of your workers, and it is even possible to request expert assistance from outside the business.

Making a commitment to safety starts with writing a comprehensive policy that allocates responsibility to key people describing what they are responsible for, when and how. The next step is communicating your commitment to health and safety across your business, for example, through meetings, emails or activities, ensuring that your actions align with your business' direction.

To identify your safety hazards, look through your workplace and think about what might cause harm. Next, assess the risk by making a judgement about the seriousness of each hazard. Determine which hazards require the most urgent attention and if the risk can’t be eliminated, identify sensible ways to control those risks.

The Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 requires employers to consult with their employees, so far as is reasonably practicable, in relation to hazards in the workplace.

Measures taken to control hazards, and any changes that may affect the health and safety of employees may be done with the assistance of employee health and safety representatives and many workplaces also utilise a safety committee. 

Our Health, Safety and Wellbeing team is able to assist you to plan, develop and implement these arrangements to effect better health and safety outcomes in the workplace.

Businesses are obliged to provide clear information, training, instruction or supervision to workers (and independent contractors) that enables them to perform their work safely and without risk to their health.

Health and safety information must be provided to employees in a format that is easy to understand. Workers also need to know who to contact if they have a health and safety query or complaint.

All workplaces must be safe and suitable for people be in. In order to work, we all need welfare facilities, such as toilets, wash basins, drinking water, and a place to rest and eat in, adequate ventilation, a reasonable working temperature, good lighting, personal storage space and a clean, hygienic environment. The workplace and work equipment (plant) must also be properly maintained to prevent unncecessary breakdowns or injuries. 

Consider all emergencies that may occur in relation to your business and make relevant plans and arrangements. This may include fire and security emergencies, first aid, and what to do if an incident occurs. 

Establish a Register of Injuries in which details of all injuries can be recorded.

It is compulsory for nearly all Victorian employers to take out workers' compensation insurance. This insurance provides benefits for workers who become ill or are injured because of their work. If you fail to take out this insurance and one of your workers is injured, they will still receive the benefits. However, WorkSafe may recover the costs of the benefits paid from you along with severe fines.

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