Apply Knowledge of OHS Legislation in the Workplace
Assessments 1, 2 & 3
Assessment Activity 1
Determining the legal framework of OHS in the workplace.
Q1. What actions would you take to identify and access current OHS legislation, codes, standards and procedures applicable to your state/territory?
I would check these websites:
Safe work Australia, the statutory agency that is responsible for improving OHS across Australia, at: www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au for non-Commonwealth employees.
Comcare at: www.comcare.gov.au for Commonwealth employees irrespective of the state they are working in.
My state/territory OHS regualtor’s website: www.workcover.nsw.gov.au Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000. Occupational Health and Safety Regulation 2001.
Q2. What is the title of your state/territory’s OHS Act and the relevant OHS authority?
Work Health and Safety Act 2011
Work cover is the relevant OHS authority
Q3. How does knowledge of OHS legislation, codes and standards assist you to identify OHS legal requirements in the workplace?
Once you understand the full extent of the documents that set out legal OHS requirements in the workplace, and their interrelationships, you can more easily determine the particular OHS obligations that apply for you workplace.
The picture you build up should indicate a range of requirements that the employer must address, including: ❖ The duties and responsibilities of employers and employees ❖ The duties and responsibilities of OHS committees and representatives ❖ Hazard and risk identification ❖ Strategies to minimise or eliminate risks and hazards ❖ Strategies to maintain a safe and healthy workplace ❖ Procedures to address staff illness and workers’ compensation ❖ Record keeping.
Q4. Describe an employer’s obligation under duty of care.
The employer’s obligation under duty of care requires them to provide: ❖ Qualified and component staff to manage and supervise the business ❖ A sufficient number of staff to carry out the work safely ❖ A safe working environment and equipment and procedures to maintain equipment in good working order ❖ Information, instruction, training and supervision so employees can perform their roles safely.
Organisations must also implement programs to make sure all employees understand their own responsibilities for maintaining workplace health and safety.
Q5. What are the legal obligations employers have in relation to consultation with employees, safety representatives and others?
OHS Acts and regulations require employers and employees to work together to ensure the safest possible workplaces. It is a legal requirement, written into all OHS legislation, for employers to consult with employees about OHS issues and to develop and maintain strategies and process to do this effectively. Issues that employees must be consulted about include: ❖ Assessing OHS risks in the workplace ❖ Decisions about eliminating or minimising hazards and risks ❖ Changes to the workplace or work methods ❖ Incorporating new health and safety requirements imposed by legislation, regulations and codes of practice into workplace procedures ❖ Consultation methods ❖ Training.
The methods used to consult with workers will depend, in part, on the size of the organisation. Larger organisations, those employing more than a certain number of people, must establish an OHS committee or holding regular safety meetings, formally or informally.
OHS Acts describe the processes and arrangements for electing and establishing a committee as well as the powers such a committee will have. For example, it is a legal requirement that committees represent the entire workforce, so you may need to check that members reflect the diversity of all employees, including workers of varying