BSBWHS201 – Work Safely
The Legislative Framework for Safety
There are many safety procedures and instructions that you may undertake while you are at work. Some of the most important are related to the legislative framework that surrounds safety. In this section we will begin by looking at the legislation before moving on to look at more specific requirements. Employers in Australia have a duty of care for their employees. They must provide all employees with a healthy and safe working environment under the law. The major piece of legislation is the Work Health and Safety Act of 2011, Section 2 of this Act states that:
The main object is to secure the health and safety of workers and workplaces by protecting workers and other persons against harm to their health, safety, and welfare through the elimination or minimization of risks arising from work.
This Act is an overriding Commonwealth piece of legislation; however some States also have their own system of legislation that may apply in a given circumstance. The general principle of each of the state’s legislation is:
Employers should do everything that is reasonably practicable to set up a working environment that is both safe and without risk to the health of all workers and other people in or near the workplace.
Regulations and Codes of Practice
The Work Health and Safety Act and Regulations has a number of parts. There is the overriding act of law, as well as numerous regulations and approved Codes of Practice that should be considered. Regulations are those laws that are written under the authority of a piece of legislation.
They are used to give a much more detailed response to the provisions of the Act, and if one breaks a regulation you can be prosecuted. Codes of Practice are written to give people practical guidance under a regulation. A Code of Practice is considered the minium standard required. While you can not be prosecuted under a Code of Practice, if you do not meet the Code you may find that it can be used as evidence of not meeting a general duty of care at work.
|Work Health and Safety Act 2011||Northern Territory|
|Work Health and Safety Act 2011||Queensland|
|Work Health and Safety Act 2012||Tasmania|
|Work Health and Safety Act 2011||ACT|
|Work Health and Safety Act 2011||New South Wales|
|Work Health and Safety Act 2012||South Australia|
|Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004||Victoria|
|Occupational Health and Safety Act 1984||Western Australia|
Other major aspects of following safety procedures in your workplace include:
Completing required documentation:
All organisations are likely to have hazard identification forms, incident report forms, logs, and other documentation that you may be required to complete during the course of your work. You must ensure that you follow all these procedures.
Safety Data Sheets (SDSs):
These documents provide guidance for dealing with hazardous substances. It is particularly important to be familiar with the Materials Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) of any substance that you work with on a regular basis. It will assist you in handling the substance safely and allowing you to know what to do when you mishandle it, such as clean-up and first aid.
Maintenance and Use of Cleaning Apparatus, such as:
• Disposing of spilled substances, dangerous products, ‘sharps’, and waste correctly
• Maintaining stocks of cleaning equipment (e.g. disposable gloves, liquid repellent aprons, disinfectant)
• Sterilising and/or disposing of cleaning equipment
• Using appropriate cleaning equipment to clean spillages and breakages
• Wearing protective clothing, protective eye wear when in contact with body fluids or chemicals that may splash.
Keeping Reception and Work Areas Clean and Tidy:
This is a simple task but one that is often overlooked when looking at WHS. A tidy workplace is a safe workplace. Look at areas such as:
• Attending to spillages and breakages promptly
• Cleaning and sanitising floor and bench surfaces
• Cleaning and tidying toilets and lunch room
• Keeping access routes clear and free of clutter
• Laundering linen
• Placing files in appropriate trays / locations
• Preparing examination rooms for patients
• Processing patient notes / records / files / reports / results promptly
• Tidying brochures, magazines, and other display materials.
Be Familiar with Your Office Practice Manual.
Some Special Guidelines in a Medical Setting:
• The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) Code of Practice for the Management of Health Information in General Practice
• RACGP Entry Standards for General Practices
• RACGP Sterilisation / Disinfection Guidelines for General Practice.
Once you are familiar with the regulations that you must follow, you are in a position to understand what you must do in order to ensure you work safely. If you have any questions regarding safety in your workplace, there are a range of individuals you can ask.
• Designated health and safety personnel
• Health and safety representatives
• Specialist personnel in a medical setting:
○ Practice manager.
Ensure that you know who it is that you should approach in the event of any questions or problems within your workplace.
Follow Provided Safety Procedures and Instructions when Working
Carry out Pre Start Systems and Equipment Checks according to Workplace Procedures
Once you understand the general principles of safety in your workplace, it is time to get specific and look at how to operate equipment safely.
It is essential that you always follow the safety procedures and instructions that are provided for you. These could include:
• Instructions and advice contained in health and safety brochures, magazines, and other material
• Completing required documentation
• Following procedures for work area housekeeping
• Following WHS guidelines relevant to workplace procedures for:
○ Disposing of spilled substances, dangerous products, sharps and waste, and cleaning equipment
○ Maintaining stocks of cleaning equipment, such as disposable gloves, liquid repellent aprons, and disinfectant
○ Sterilising cleaning equipment
○ Using appropriate cleaning equipment to clean spillages and breakages
○ Wearing personal protective clothing and protective eyewear when in contact with body fluids or chemicals that may splash.
• Handling, using and storing hazardous chemicals according to workplace procedures
• Labels for hazardous chemicals
• Specific guidelines and procedures as they apply to own work area
• Undergoing operator training and instruction when using new equipment or processes.
Let’s now look at how you can ensure that the equipment you are using is safe for you to use. We will begin by looking at hand tools. Many risks can be controlled by ensuring hand tools are properly used and maintained, for example:
Carefully examine both the handle and the head of the hammer before use, make sure they are not chipped or cracked in any way as this can cause the hammer to disintegrate
Make sure that the handle is attached tightly and avoid using as an opener rather than for its specified use
The tip of the chisel should also be in the correct shape, ensure that you do not have a chisel where the tip is misformed in any way and if needed, replace or repair the chisel before use
Ensure the handle is not split; do not use for other purposes such as opening paint tins or hitting them with a hammer
Make sure the end is the right shape. Throw away any that slip when attempting to tighten and make sure that you have a range of spanners in different sizes, so you do not have to use the wrong one.
Whenever you are using tools or machinery in your organisation, ensure that you check them very carefully before use. Check for obvious signs of damage and make sure that they have been well maintained. If needed, make sure that the required maintenance checks are undertaken before you use the machines. If possible, have the machine checked out if you have any concerns about the state of the machine itself.
Inspections should be carried out regularly on machines. Make sure that these are done by someone qualified and entered into maintenance records within the organisation. These types of inspections should be made before first use as well as when you have had the machine repaired:
• If your machinery has safety guards, check these are in place and not loose before each time that you use the machine
• Ensure that you know what the manuals and manufacturer recommends with regards to maintenance of the machine and the way that it should be carried out
• Look at what routine checks need to be undertaken, this includes things that should be done daily
• Know what machinery needs preventative maintenance or servicing on a regular basis, this can prevent the machine from being seen unsafe
• Any equipment that uses hydraulics or electricity must be carefully examined to ensure that it is working correctly before use, do not attempt any repairs to these yourself.
There are certain machines and pieces of equipment that are more prone to causing incidents than others. Think about the following:
• If possible, do not use ladders unless absolutely necessary
• Ladders must be put in place securely before you step on them
• In order to prevent the ladder from moving while you are on it, have someone hold it for you, use anti-slip technology, or tie it in place
• Always put things in your tool belt rather than carrying them while climbing the ladder
• Make sure you do not have to reach too far beyond the ladder • Never use a broken ladder. Managing the Risk of Falls at Workplaces Code of Practice 2011 outlines the minimum requirement when working with ladders.
• Make sure that appropriate guards are in place before you use any drilling machinery
• Make sure that you have a vice or gripping mechanism to hold the object that you are drilling in place securely before any use
• If you have longer hair, make sure that it is tied back to prevent it getting tangled
• Wear overalls, and make sure you do not have any loose clothing
• Wear eye and hand protection.
• Make sure you are licenced and competent before driving
• Complete a pre-start check by following the manufacturers instructions
• Report any damage or problems to your supervisor immediately
• Remove the key and tag out unsafe forklifts to prevent unauthorised use
• Follow the traffic management plan at your workplace.
Follow Workplace Procedures for Responding to Emergency Incidents
Emergencies are situations where immediate action must be taken to maintain safety.
They can include:
• Alcohol and Other Drug Intoxication
• External Threats
• Near Misses
• Sudden Illness.
When you are inducted into a new position, you will be told many things. One of the most important are the emergency procedures or what to do if there is a dangerous situation. This could be a fire, robbery, explosion, gas leak, or many, many others. If there is an emergency you must follow the procedure that you have been taught during your induction. If you are not clear on what to do in different incident situations, take the time early in your employment to find out for yourself. You owe it to yourself and others to be able to contribute to safety in an emergency.
• Your workplace must be a safe and healthy place in which to work. This is a legislative requirement
• When starting your work it is important to check your equipment to ensure it is safe and will not cause you any injury
• Ensure you follow all instructions and procedures related to emergency incidents and safety in your workplace.