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What does good worker capability look like?

You provide workers with information, instruction, training and supervision so they understand:

  • the potential health and safety risks of their work
  • the systems and control measures in place
  • how to work in a healthy and safe way
  • how to respond to emergencies
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work health and safety

Induct Workers*

Before they start work, you must give new workers training to help them become familiar with their tasks, environment and the people working around them. This is called induction training.

You should tell them:

  • how safety is discussed
  • how to use equipment safely
  • what hazards and risks are in the workplace, and how to control them
  • their obligations regarding health and safety
  • about emergency procedures, such as how to evacuate, assembly points, exit locations and fire wardens
  • where to find the first aid kit

Also give them contact details for people with health and safety responsibilities such as:

  • first aid officer
  • health and safety representative
  • return to work coordinator
  • employee assistance program

Give them a copy of their job description and let them know their expected work hours and rest breaks.

Make sure every new worker demonstrates that they understand the training.

Provide information to suit individual needs*

Who needs work health and safety information?

Everyone: business owners, supervisors, workers, work experience students, volunteers and contractors.

What does each person need?

Information and training depends on:

  • a worker’s duties, skills and experience
  • hazards and control measures in your workplace
  • the worker’s health and safety responsibilities – eg supervisor, first aid officer, health and safety representative

Some workers may need a licence to operate high-risk equipment, such as a forklift or crane; others may need a certificate to work in high-risk places, such as a construction site; and others may need industry-specific training such as handling asbestos, working at heights, operating machinery, working around hot surfaces, using hazardous chemicals or manual handling.

Provide information that is easy to understand

Make sure workers are given information that considers their literacy, language and ability.

At-risk workers – workers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, migrant workers, young workers, and labour-hire workers – may need extra consideration.

Check that workers understand their responsibilities

Ask workers:

  • if they understand what’s expected of them?
  • if they have the knowledge and skills to work safely?
  • if they are working as they have been trained?
  • if more training or information is needed?
  • what improvements can be made?

Make sure your workers are trained and competent*

What is competency-based training?

Competency-based training makes sure your workers gain the skills and knowledge they need to perform work tasks, and can demonstrate they are able to do them safely.

It’s not enough to give a worker a procedure and expect them to perform it correctly.

Provide training

Let workers know what to expect. Demonstrate each task, step-by-step. Train workers before introducing new equipment or procedures.

Assess competence

Watch each worker do a task and assess their ability to complete it safely.

Your positive assessment means a worker has the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to safely carry out their work tasks.

Check licences

Check your worker’s licence details. Do they have the correct licence for the machinery they’ll operate? Is the licence current? Are they the licence holder?

Have your worker demonstrate that they can safely operate the machinery for which they are licensed.

Keep a record

Keep a record of all training completed by your workers. It helps keep track of who has been trained, how they performed, and what further training is required. It also helps keep track of any formal training that is due to expire, so you can organise refresher training.

Training records should be signed-off by both workers and managers, to show that the training was completed.

Review training

Review your training frequently, to make sure it is up-to-date and working well.

Whenever there is a change to the workplace or work practices – eg when introducing new machinery or changing the role of a worker – review your training, and update if necessary.

Anyone affected by change in the workplace must be given proper notice, information and training before the change takes place.

Provide the right supervision for workers*

Supervising workers makes sure your systems and processes are followed correctly. Good supervisors help improve productivity and maintain healthy and safe practices.

The level of supervision depends on:

  • the level of risk in the job
  • the experience of the worker
  • the skills of the worker
  • the existing controls

High-level supervision is necessary where inexperienced or new workers are expected to follow new systems or carry out difficult and high-risk work. You must consider any requirements of workers with disabilities, cultural differences and language difficulties.

*Some questions may not apply if you are a sole trader, unless you engage with sub-contractors, labour-hire workers, volunteers, work experience, etc.


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