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Office work health and safety role playsWhat is work health and safety (WHS)?Workplace Health and Safety (WHS), often referred to as Occupational Healthand Safety (OH&S) involves the assessment and migration of risks that may impact the health, safety or welfare of those in your workplace. This may include the health and safety of your customers, employees, visitors, contractors, volunteers and suppliers. As a business owner there are legal requirements that you must comply with to ensure your workplace meets WHS obligations.WHS obligation for businessAs a business owner you have legal responsibilities to implement health and safety practices in your workplace as soon as you start your business. You need to ensure that your business doesn't create health and safety problems for your employees, contractors, volunteers, visitors, customers or the public.Knowing and understanding WHS laws and how they apply to business will help you avoid unnecessary costs and damage to your business caused by workplace injury and illness.Under Australian WHS/OH&S legislation businesses are legally obliged to:oprovide safe work premisesoassess risks and implement appropriate measures for controlling themoensure safe use and handling of goods and substancesoprovide and maintain safe machinery and materialsoassess workplace layout and provide safe systems of workoprovide a suitable working environment and facilitiesohave insurance and workers compensation workers’ compensation insurance for your employees.Though it may cost to implement safe practices and install safety equipment, the effect of not taking action can be severe and costly. Complying with WHS requirements can prevent you from being prosecuted and fined, and help you to retain skilled staff.Your legal obligations may vary according to circumstances and industry. You may wish to seek independent legal advice on what is applicable to your situation.
Work health and safety proceduresA procedure sets out the steps to be followed for work activities. You must consult with affected workers when developing procedures for:oresolving work health and safety issuesoconsulting with workers on work health and safetyomonitoring workers’ health and workplace conditionsoproviding information and training.Procedures should be in writing to provide clarity and certainty at the workplace and demonstrate compliance. They should clearly set out the role of health and safety representatives, and any other parties involved in the activity. The procedures should be easily accessible, for example by placing them on noticeboards and intranet sites.In the context of issue resolution where procedures are agreed to, the Work, Health and Safety Regulations 2011include minimum requirements including that these procedures are set out in writing and communicated to all workers to whom the procedure applies.