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From our teamSeptember 8, 2017
When a business complies with their required health and safety obligations, there is no doubt that the result will be a safer workplace for workers and will likely lead to an increase in efficiency and productivity.
But can complying with health and safety legislation lead to more revenue for businesses? The answer is yes.
In several industries, businesses may have to submit tenders to be able to win a large job. As part of this process, businesses will generally have to show how they are meeting their health and safety obligations.
Being a workplace health and safety adviser and assisting employers every day with their tender documents, I have outlined below three questions I encounter regularly.
Health and safety documentation should include procedures setting out the steps to be followed for work activities. They should clearly detail management’s responsibilities, workers’ responsibilities and how hazards will be identified, assessed and controlled. These may be set out in the business’s health and safety manual.
The documentation should also include a suite of forms and tools that may be used to document evidence of the business meeting health and safety legislative requirements. For example, a toolbox talk form to document minutes of tool box talks, a skills matrix to document worker’s training details and an incident report form to document any incident or near misses.
I regularly advise clients to submit the manual, a worker handbook and any relevant supporting forms for the tender process, however, it is best to avoid referring to these documents as a safety management system and/or plan because this type of system is quite comprehensive. It is also largely used primarily in high risk industries such as aviation, petroleum, and mining. For context, most small to medium sized businesses do not need this system unless they are trying to get accredited to certain standards.
The health and safety legislation employers are required to meet will depend on the state or territory in which they are operating.
When courts are deciding whether workplace health and safety laws are being met, they will consider if the acts, regulations and codes of practices in the states or territories are met. For the codes of practice, check the relevant codes of practice on your state regulator’s website.
Employsure is able to assist you when considering the relevant health and safety legislation.
Environmental management plans describe how a business’s actions might impact on the natural environment in which it occurs and sets out clear commitments from the business. The plan will outline the action on how those impacts will be avoided, minimised and managed to ensure they are environmentally acceptable.
The legislation that governs the requirements of this plan sits outside health and safety legislation and will vary depending on the business activities. The environment legislation in Australia is jointly administered by Federal, State and Local Government.
Health and safety is a very important responsibility as it keeps employees safe and protects the business from unnecessary risks. In addition to potentially bringing increased revenue, complying with health and safety obligations helps retain employees, maximises productivity and helps employers meet minimum employment obligations.