The Work Health and Safety (WHS) law is a new approach to the old health and safety laws but some fundamental points were reinstated such as:
- Management commitment
- Management of risk
- Training and instruction
- Reporting Safety
- Return to work and workers compensation
Business owners are required to enact the WHS properly in their workplaces and ensure that all staff members are made aware of the policies included in it.
A step-by-step risk management approach
A hazard is any source of probable contamination that may bring adverse effects on people under certain working conditions. Hazards may come from certain objects, equipment, or harmful chemicals. Some hazards, however, may come from the manner the work is implemented such as manual handling, excessive noise, and fatigue generated by late working hours.
When a hazard causes actual harm, a risk arises. Different factors may affect the magnitude of a risk including the process through which the work was done, the number of people involved in it, and the gravity of the resulting damage.
To maintain a safe environment in the workplace, an orderly system in searching for probable hazards and risks must be administered. This system involves a discourse with the staff and it follows four steps:
- Identifying hazards – possible causes of hazards include:
- Physical work environment
- Equipment, materials and substances used
- Work tasks and the manner they were executed
- Work design and management
- Evaluating the risks – this includes examining the hazards that may affect people and analyzing the probability of it causing actual damage. Risk evaluation includes the identification of the following:
- Severity of the risk
- Existing control measures that can be utilized
- Actions that need to be taken to control the risk
- Urgency of the situation
- Controlling the risks – this entails distinguishing the most effective means of controlling the risk and properly executing it. The hierarchy of risk control measures is as follows:
- Eliminating the hazards – remove the source of hazard completely from the workplace.
- Changing the hazards – find an alternative to the source of hazard with something harmless or replace the whole work process. Additionally, people may be isolated from the risk by moving the source of hazard away from them.
- Replacing the people – this involves properly training the worker and equipping them accordingly with personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Regularly inspecting the risk control measures – this is needed when:
- The risk control measure is not effective in controlling the risk
- There is a new workplace or changes take place in the workplace