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Reduce hazards with these workplace safety & health laws

Written by Kevin J. Hinton on 08/04/2015 1:46:00 PM 1 Comment
Blog_image_dimensions_for_Hubspot_08042015This week’s blog gives you the basics of new Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) legislation which every business owner or person conducting a business should know. 

Don't get caught in hot water! Did you know not having the right Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) procedures in place at work could leave you with a criminal record? 

It might seem like a dry topic, but if you own a business it pays to know your workplace safety and health laws. Reduce risk and hazards with the following information on workplace safety and health laws. 

New OHS legislation

According to new legislation, an injury to workers, customers and visitors is now the sole responsibility of the business owner or “person conducting a business or undertaking” (PCBU).

In 2011 the OHS laws changed but many small to medium-sized businesses did not change their policies and procedures to reflect them. Consequently many owners now find themselves liable for their employee’s injuries even if they had nothing to do with incident. So, have you updated your policies?

According the Courier Mail, there were 12 work related deaths in Queensland in the construction industry between 2013 and 2014. This statistic doesn’t include non-construction industry related incidents. There are far more incidents that occur every day, many are not life threatening but most are life changing.

Who does the new OHS legislation affect?

It affects the business owner or the ‘person conducting a business or undertaking’ (PCBU). Apart from the business owner this includes partners, directors or sole traders. The executive manager (if not the owner) is no longer responsible even if it is their negligence that causes the incident.
The business owner or PCBU is responsible no matter what the circumstance. If you don’t have the correct procedures in place, your ‘director’s liability insurance’ may not cover you and you could end up with a criminal record in the case of a workplace incident. The PCBU is liable even if your office is in one location i.e. Brisbane and your shop, factory or plant is in another i.e. Perth.

How do you protect yourself from liability?

According to the Act, as a PCBU you cannot fully protect yourself from liability if an incident occurs, however a defence to an action can be substantially improved if you have all the appropriate policies and procedures in place at the time of the incident (there are no accidents, they are all incidents).
These policies and procedures should include: (dependant on your business)
  •  WHS Policy
  •  Managing falls policy
  •  First aid policy
  •  Risk management policy and procedure 
  •  Workplace harassment policy
  •  Manual handling policy and procedure
  • Consultation, Cooperation and Coordination policy and procedure

All of these and further OHS details are freely available on the internet and will need to be adapted to use in your business. Alternatively, you can contact an expert in the field to help you develop your OHS system.

Don’t let an uncontrolled incident cost you money or your business! Laovale can help with your OHS needs and takes clients on Bartercard. Visit www.laovale.com for everything you need to know about workplace safety and health, or contact us for further information on protecting your business.   

References:

Work Health and Safety Act 2011
Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011
The Courier Mail

Author: Kevin J. Hinton
MBA, BBus.(IT) GDip (JRN) Dip (OHS)
GCert (MGMT), (PubHealth), F.S.A.

Email: kevin@laovale.com
Mobile: +61 412609424
Laovale Pty LtdCorporate & Hospitality Compliance
www.laovale.com 

Please note: Information contained in this blog is for information only and does not constitute legal advice.

Topics: Workplace health and safety

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