Who is Legally Responsible for OH&S? The law says: Your employer has the main responsibility to make sure that the workplace is safe and healthy.
Section 21 of the OH&S Act specifies that: An employer must, so far as reasonably practicable, provide and maintain for employees a working environment that is safe and without risk to health.
The OH&S Act places duties of care on employers, self-employed persons, workplace occupiers, designers, manufacturers, importers, suppliers, erectors and installers of plant, the manufacturers, importers and suppliers of substances, and employees.
These duties are outlined below.
Employers must provide you with a healthy and safe workplace. This includes:
• Providing and maintaining safe plant and safe systems of work
• Making sure there is safe use, handling and storage of plant and chemicals
• Maintaining the worksite in a safe and healthy condition
• Providing facilities for your welfare such as: amenities, first aid, drinking water
• Providing necessary safety information, instruction, training and supervision
This duty extends to all the business’s employees, contractors and contractors’ employees. Employers must also consult with their workers’ elected health and safety representatives.
If you are an employee your employer must also:
• Monitor your health: for example by hearing tests and skin checks
• Keep information and records relating to your health and safety
• Employ or consult suitably qualified people for OHS advice
• Nominate a senior manager to deal with OHS issues
• Monitor conditions at your worksite,
• Provide key OHS information to you in language you know
Employers and self-employed persons must:
• Look after the health and safety of the general public, site visitors and other people who are not their employees or their subcontractors. For example by securely fencing sites, providing overhead protective gantries and traffic management systems.
Plant designers, manufacturers, importers and suppliers (including plant hire businesses) must:
• ensure the safe design of plant and equipment
• carry out the necessary tests and examinations
• provide the necessary safe use information
Erectors and installers must:
• make sure that plant like scaffolds, cranes, hoists and lifts is erected or installed so that it is safe and without risks to health when properly used.
Substances manufacturers, importers and suppliers must:
• make sure they are safe
• have done the necessary tests or examinations
• supply the necessary safe use information -Material Safety Data Sheets-(MSDS) and labeling
• Take reasonable care of their own and others’ health and safety
• Cooperate with the employer’s OHS directions, rules and procedures
• Not interfere with or misuse anything provided for health and safety
• Not place other people at risk
The OHS Act also controls the arrangements for workers’ health and safety representatives, consultation on health and safety matters and the resolution of health and safety issues.