|OHS goal is to prevent disease and injury in the workplace|
What is OHS?
OHS stands for Occupational Health and Safety and refers to Australian legislation that has the aim of preventing disease and injury to people in the workplace. An employer has to abide by Commonwealth, Territory or State legislation that is applicable to them.
Although each jurisdiction has its own individual legislation each of them are very similar to one another with regard to their intentions and also in a number of the provisions. For example, the following are the same for all:
• Providing work systems that free of any risk to health and are also safe
• Preventing of disease and injury
• Protecting the general public’s health and safety
From the perspective of the employer, the principle that is probably the most important in each Act is the ‘duty of care’ that requires an employer to make sure the employees have a place of work that is safe.
Workers can expect to be fully protected from injury or disease whilst at work with an employer having an obligation under common law to do so. If they do not the employer could be sued for negligence.
An employer will normally have to provide the following for its employees:
• Adequate training
• Acceptable level of supervision
• Appropriate and safe equipment
• Safe working systems
How can OHS help make the workplace a safer place?
By employers following the OHS regulations that are well thought out, the work force should find they have a much safer environment to work in.
For example, by providing suitable office desks, chairs and drawers that work correctly and are not damaged, its employees are less likely to suffer an accident at work. In the case of a tall chest of drawers, the employer should place a label on the top drawers warning staff not to open too many of the top drawers all at once otherwise the chest may tip over if it becomes unbalanced.
The electrical equipment in the business premises should be checked by a suitably qualified electrician on a regular basis to make sure there are no issues. For example, wiring problems may cause one of the employees to suffer an electric shock that could result in a fatality.
If a new member of staff is using some machinery on the shop floor it would be necessary to provide both adequate training and supervision for a period of time to make sure that they use the machinery correctly without causing any danger themselves or their colleagues.
The employer must provide suitable equipment to get the work done in a safe and reasonable way. For example, you would not expect an employee to be asked to dig the foundations for a new school by using just a spade as that would be considered unreasonable. Instead you would expect the employer to provide adequate mechanical earth moving equipment to do this work.
If canteen facilities are provided by the employer they will need to ensure that health and hygiene regulations are maintained in respect of how the food is prepared, served and keeping the canteen kitchen clean and free of germs.
The above are just some of the guidelines you should follow. For more help, it is important to complete a coursed in Occupational Health and Safety (OHS).