Work Health and Safety Policy

We continue to commit and meet our duty of care responsibilities under work health and safety legislation.

Why we have it

The policy applies to all officers, managers, employees and workers. We need officers, managers, employees and workers to meet their responsibilities. We all must comply with:

The policy is supported by Health and Safety Consultation Arrangements including:

  • the Secretary’s statement of commitment
  • our Work Health and Safety Strategy and
  • our work health and safety guidelines and procedures

Required actions

There are a number of things we need to consider. We have set defined titles and responsibilities for all employees.

Officer

An officer is a person who makes, or participates in making, decisions that affect the whole, or a substantial part, of the department.

Worker

Under the WHS Act, the definition of worker includes any person carrying out work for the department, including employees, contractors including labour hire staff and agents.

Responsibilities

The following will be put into practice. This ensures we can achieve our work health and safety objectives:

Senior executives (Officers) must demonstrate due diligence by:

  • having up to date knowledge of work health and safety and business operations
  • providing suitable resources to achieve work health and safety objectives
  • considering safety incidents
  • monitoring, reviewing and improving safety performance
  • ensuring legal compliance; and
  • verifying the implementation of risk controls

Managers must:

  • implement this policy and the work health and safety guidelines and procedures
  • provide leadership in health and safety
  • undertake relevant safety training
  • ensure workplace safety inductions are completed
  • apply work health and safety risk management to identify, eliminate or reduce health and safety risks within their control
  • apply the department’s work health and safety guidelines and procedures and
  • escalate information about serious incidents and risks to senior executives

All employees and workers must:

  • take care for their own health and safety, ensure that their acts or omissions do not affect the health and safety of others
  • be involved in work health and safety
  • inform managers about safety incidents and risks
  • report and record work health and safety risks and incidents, in accordance with the department’s procedures
  • complete workplace hazard reports, customer aggression reports, incident and injury reports complying with the department’s work health and safety guidelines and procedures
  • undertake relevant safety training
  • follow safe working procedures
  • complete workplace safety inductions and
  • identify hazards
  • eliminate or reduce health and safety risks within their control

Managers and the Workplace Health and Safety Branch are required to notify Comcare of:

  • specific incidents
  • investigate
  • review incidents
  • injuries and
  • risk Managers, who are not officers, must meet the duty of care for workers and comply with reasonable policies, instructions and procedures

We all must discuss health and safety risks. Identify where corrective actions should be made. We all want a safe work place. It is everyone’s responsibility to look after each other. A worker has a duty of care to:

  • take reasonable care for their own health and safety
  • take reasonable care that their acts or omissions do not adversely affect the health and safety of other persons
  • comply, so far as the worker is reasonably practicable, with any reasonable instruction that is given by the department to allow the person to comply with the WHS Act; and
  • co-operate with any reasonable policy or procedure of the department relating to health and safety at the workplace that has been notified to workers

Implementing the policy

We use a work health and safety management system approach to achieve health and safety objectives. This Work Health and Safety Policy requires a system to manage risk processes. They are used to identify, assess, consult and control health and safety hazards. Work health and safety is one area where risk management is not optional, it is mandated by law. The Safety Reference Centre provides safety guidelines and procedures to support this policy. The Guidelines for Managing Work Health and Safety Risks provide information on how to identify, assess and control hazards.

It is important that WHS risk management activities are:

  • documented
  • transparent

If required, they must be available for audit and provided to:

  • officers
  • governance committees and
  • Comcare, as the Commonwealth safety regulator

Our Health and Safety Consultation Arrangements (HSCA) inform us about:

  • health and safety committees
  • health and safety representatives
  • risk management
  • communication
  • consultation arrangements and
  • the description of roles for managers and workers

The HSCA creates a tiered structure of health and safety committees. They have employer and employee and worker representatives. These committees, with elected health and safety representatives facilitate:

  • consultation
  • communication and
  • cooperation on work health and safety issues

Effective consultation is an essential aspect of the safety management system and risk management.

Integration into business activities

All managers in our department should act to improve work health and safety within their:

  • divisions
  • branches
  • zones
  • workplaces
  • functions and projects they manage

They can do this by ensuring that health and safety is part of activities like:

  • business planning and risk management, including using the consultation arrangements and structures set up by the HSCA in the risk management processes
  • business and service process design and development, considering the safety impact of new business processes and implementing new service delivery models and job or task designs
  • project management, for example in projects to implement new equipment, premise, structures and new IT systems
  • performance management, for example in performance agreements and
  • procurement and contract management

Priorities

All managers should ensure they understand the department’s safety priorities, and:

  • how they are being managed
  • how they are implement
  • know the required risk controls

The WHS priorities for the department include:

  • preventing and managing customer aggression
  • reducing body stressing injuries related to computer use, such as hazardous manual tasks
  • reducing mental stress or psychological injuries including bullying and harassment
  • reducing risks involved in out servicing, including:
    • remote travel
    • prison servicing and
    • vehicle safety, referred to as offsite safety
  • managing call centre safety issues such as acoustic incidents
  • managing risks for contractors, including agents, in consultation with those contractors, referred to in the WHS Act as horizontal consultation and
  • managing safety risks associated with the department’s property portfolio, including:
    • electrical safety
    • regular workplace inspections and
    • contractor safety management procedures

Your role in the workplace

Managers and workers should get information about their work health and safety responsibilities and duties. They can do this by undertaking relevant training, such as the Managing Work Health and Safety e-learning program.

Information about training requirements for all work health and safety roles is provided in the Safety Training and Learning Matrix. Our Safety Reference Centre provides information and resources to support learning. You can complete them at your own pace.

Managers should:

  • monitor the health and safety training requirements of their staff,
  • ensure relevant training is included in performance agreements and
  • ensure training is undertaken

Managers and workers can also access health and safety advice from Work Health and Safety Advisers, where specialist information is required.

Work health and safety performance is monitored through key performance indicators and the Safety Assurance Program. It checks the performance of the management system in a sample of workplaces every year against specific safety criteria. Our Workplace Health and Safety Branch provides expert safety advice to managers and staff. They manage important aspects of the work health and safety management system, including the Safety Assurance Program and performance reporting. The Branch monitors work health and safety requirements and provides information to the department to achieve legislative compliance.

Legislation and resources

Page last updated: 20 March 2017

This information was printed Monday 27 March 2017 from humanservices.gov.au/corporate/work-health-and-safety-policy It may not include all of the relevant information on this topic. Please consider any relevant site notices at humanservices.gov.au/siteinformation when using this material.