Occupational Heath and Safety
Occupational Health and Safety
It is important for all workers and employers to be aware of the dangers in the workplace. Occupational Health and Safety in the workplace is every person's responsibility.
As a worker, you are entitled to a safe workplace. You are entitled to work safely and be provided with information, training and supervision and to be represented on your Occupational Health and Safety issues raised in the workplace.
Whilst it is important that your employer provides a safe workplace for you, it is essential that you take reasonable care and ensure that the health and safety of your workmates is not affected by your actions. Work in a safe manner and ensure your workplace is free of hazards and dangers.
In order to maintain a safe workplace, you must not recklessly or intentionally interfere with or misuse anything that has been provided to you that will affect the safety and welfare of your workmates or employees.
Your employer must provide you with a safe workplace. A safe workplace includes -
- Safe Working Space
- Noise Management
- Working environment
There must be sufficient working area to allow for all employees to safely work, any floors or surfaces should be constructed in the best way to curtail any slips or falls in the workplace to prevent a workplace accident. You should be able to move around your workplace safely and unobstructed.
It is in every workmates best interest for you to advise your employer should you see any dangers or hazards around the workplace that could potentially harm a fellow employee.
Your employer must provide your workplace with adequate lighting to ensure you are able to work and move safely. The entrances, exits and emergency exits need to be well lit. It is also essential that non workers are able to move around the workplace safely and with sufficient light.
Employers must not allow their employees to be exposed to noise levels that exceed the level set by the Australian Standards. If you think the noise level is too great, address this danger with your employer.
Your workplace must have adequate air movement and ventilation in indoor environments that may become heated. You must ensure you have access to warm clothing and heated areas if you are working in a cold workplace, alternatively you must have sheltered areas and suitable clothing.
Employers other obligations
Your employer must -
- Provide adequate training and supervision for workers working at heights. The aim is to prevent falls, falling objects, safe scaffolding and safety wear and safe building maintenance.
- Maintain adequate ventilation, especially if working with gases and fumes.
- Prevent fire and have fire extinguishers readily available in the event of fire.
- Provide safe electricity. There should not be exposed wiring or lines laid dangerously.
- Provide training, supervision and ensure proper understanding of manual handling procedures.
- Provide training and safety equipment when an employee is working in confined spaces.
Hazards may be in any workplace, but they may be avoidable. A hazard is defined in the NSW law, Occupational Health and Safety Regulation 2001, as 'anything (including work practices or procedures) that has the potential to harm the health and safety of a person.'
Hazards may arise from your working environment, from poor workplace design or inappropriate procedures within the workplace, or from the use of substances or machinery. The hazards can be classed into five areas:
- Physical hazards, e.g.
- Chemical, e.g.
- Mechanical/electrical, e.g.
- trips and falls
- electrical equipment
- Psychological, e.g.
Once these hazards have been identified, workplace hazard protocols should be put in place. What may not seem like a danger to you could cause serious work related injury to your workmate. Employers should consult with their workforce on the best may to reduce and eliminate any hazards in the workplace. Australian Standards has specifications defined for equipment, materials and products which ensure safety and are of good quality.