Work health and safety made easy

Use these elements of best practice health and safety compliance to measure how your workplace shapes up.

We understand small businesses don’t always feel they have the time, resources or expertise when it comes to managing health and safety in their workplace.

We have developed the ‘Easy to do work health and safety toolkit’ to make it easier for small businesses to understand and meet their work health and safety obligations.

Easy to do WHS video

Keeping your workplace healthy and safe doesn’t have to be difficult.

Workshops

Come along to one of the easy to do work health and safety workshops and find out how the new toolkit can assist your small business in becoming safer, healthier and more productive. By attending a workshop your business may also be eligible for a $500 rebate.

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Health and safety at a glance

Your commitment

Commitment means leading by example with your actions and attitude, to develop a successful safety culture in your business.
Good management commitment means:

  • health and safety is a priority for you
  • you make sure effective controls are in place to protect workers
  • everyone’s health and safety responsibilities are clearly defined
  • you provide time and money to improve health and safety
  • your actions show your workers that you are serious about health and safety
  • safety is built into your business plans.

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Consultation

Consultation about work health and safety is an important two-way conversation in your business. It uses everyone’s knowledge and experience to achieve a safer and healthier workplace, good consultation means:

  • your business has agreed consultation arrangements with your workers and you tell them about consultation outcomes
  • you consult with workers before making decisions that impact their health and safety
  • you have regular, honest talks with your workers about the consultation process, how it’s working and how it could be improved
  • there is a good representation of all workers in the consultation process, including diversity of their age, ability, language or literacy
  • workers suggest and support timely improvements that benefit your business
  • you consult, cooperate and coordinate work health and safety activities with other businesses that have shared duties

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Managing risks

Managing risks is an ongoing process of identifying, prioritising and controlling anything that can cause harm.

Good risk management means:

  • your tasks, items of plant and workplace are designed to be safe
  • effective risk management processes are in place to identify hazards and control risks
  • highest-level controls are used to eliminate or minimise risks
  • controls are checked to make sure they don’t create new risks
  • controls are reviewed regularly
  • workers are consulted throughout each step of the risk management process
  • workers understand risks and control measures

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Reporting

Reporting is a procedure that gives everyone the opportunity to raise health and safety incidents and issues for you to action.

Good reporting means:

  • Systems and procedures are in place for reporting safety issues and incidents.
  • Health and safety issues and incidents are always reported and acted upon.
  • Risk controls are always reviewed following an incident.
  • You notify us of serious incidents, near misses and fatalities.

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Worker capability

Worker capability means a worker has the ability to perform the tasks expected of them without risk to health and safety.

Good worker capability means:

  • 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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Safe working environment

A safe working environment means designing and maintaining your workplace to minimise physical and mental health risks.

  • Workplace is designed to be healthy and safe.
  • Safe and clean workspaces.
  • Emergency plans are in place, and reviewed regularly.
  • A fully-stocked first aid kit is available.
  • Machinery and equipment operate safely.
  • Mental health is a priority.
  • Hazardous chemicals are used, handled and stored safely.
  • Safety data sheets are available and up-to-date.

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Workers compensation and recovery at work

Understanding your workers compensation obligations will assist you to support your workers to recover at work following a work‑related injury or illness. You should:

  • have a current workers compensation insurance policy that reflects the nature of your business
  • update your insurance policy when your business grows or changes
  • display the If you get injured at work poster at your workplace
  • keep a record of all work-related injuries or illnesses in a register of injuries
  • notify your insurer of all workplace injuries within 48 hours
  • notify us immediately on 13 10 50 if there’s a death, serious injury or illness, or potentially dangerous incident
  • have a return to work program that describes the steps you will take if a worker is injured in line with the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) guidelines for workplace return to work program (sira.nsw.gov.au)
  • maintain contact with your injured worker and support them to ‘recover at work’.

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Glossary

Contractors

Workers who work under contract, including subcontractors and those who work for contractors and subcontractors.

Designer

Designs products, including plant, substances and structures.

Emergency plan

A set of instructions that outlines what to do in an emergency.

Employee assistance program

A program offered by a qualified counsellor, which helps workers with personal problems or work-related problems that may impact their job performance, health and wellbeing.

Harm

Includes injuries and illnesses caused by a single exposure or event, or multiple or long-term exposure. Includes physical and psychological harm.

Hazard

Something, including a person’s behaviour, that has the potential to cause death, injury or illness.

Hazardous chemicals

Solids, liquids or gases that can harm a person’s health.

Health and safety committee

Facilitates consultation on health and safety issues for the whole workplace or for parts of the workplace.

Health and safety representative

A worker who has been elected by a work group to represent them on health and safety issues.

Health and safety system

A method of working that eliminates or reduces the risk of injury.

High risk work licence

Required for certain types of work, such as operating cranes and forklifts.

Illness

A disease, or period of sickness, that affects the body or mind.

Importers

Someone who brings goods or services into the country for sale.

Injury reporting system

Policies and procedures that ensure incidents are reported.

Inspector

a person appointed under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 to monitor and enforce compliance with NSW WHS laws. They can enter any premises they have reason to believe is a place of work.

Mental health

A state of wellbeing in which every individual copes with the normal stresses of life, works productively and fruitfully, and contributes to their community.

Near miss

An occurrence that might have led to an injury or illness, danger to someone’s health, and/or damage to property or the environment.

Notifiable incident

Includes the death of a person, a serious injury or illness of a person, or a potentially dangerous incident.

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Equipment used to protect someone from hazards in the workplace, such as helmets, boots, gloves, goggles, aprons and sunscreen.

Plant

Equipment or tools used at work.

Return to work coordinator

The person responsible for supporting workers as they recover at work from work related illness or injury..

Return to work program

The formal policy that outlines general procedures for handling work-related injuries or illnesses. It represents an employer’s commitment to the health, safety and recovery of workers following an incident. All employers must have one.

Risk

The possibility that death, injury or illness might occur when a person is exposed to a hazard. It refers to the likelihood and potential severity of harm arising from exposure to hazards.

Risk assessment

Evaluating the probability and consequence of injury or illness arising.

Risk control

Eliminating or minimising health and safety risks so far as is reasonably practicable.

Risk management

Involves hazard identification, risk assessment and risk control.

Safe work method statement

A document that details the way a work task or process is to be completed. Outlines the hazards involved and includes a step-by-step guide on how to do the job safely.


Safety data sheet

A document prepared by the manufacturer, importer or supplier of a dangerous good, hazardous substance or other chemicals. Describes its properties and uses, including details about substance identity, chemical and physical properties, first aid treatment, and precautions for storage, use and safe handling.

SIRA - State Insurance Regulatory Authority NSW

The government organisation responsible for the regulatory functions for workers compensation insurance, motor accidents compulsory third party (CTP) insurance, and home building compensation.

Stress

The physical, mental and emotional reactions of workers who perceive that their work demands exceed their abilities and/ or their resources (such as time, help/support) to do the work.

Training

Instruction on how to do a job safely.

Volunteer

A person who acts on a voluntary basis, regardless of whether they receive out-of-pocket expenses.

WHS

Work health and safety.

Worker

An individual who carries out work as an employee, labour hire company worker, apprentice, trainee, outworker, person undertaking a work trial or work experience, or a volunteer.

Workers compensation policy

An insurance policy which provides an employer coverage in the event one or more of their workers suffer a work- related injury or illness.

Workplace bullying

Repeated and unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or group of workers that creates a risk to health and safety.

Workplace

A place where work is carried out for a business or undertaking such as a factory, vehicle, aircraft or farm.

The research

The Centre for Work Health and Safety is undertaking research with small businesses to help refine our toolkit.

Research phases

Phase I: Exploration - focus groups and interviewsPhase I: Exploration - focus groups and interviews

This research was completed in July 2018.

The research team collected opinions from small business owners and stakeholders across NSW about the draft toolkit, and their WHS needs. This information was used to refine the toolkit.

Phase II: Testing – a before-and-after studyPhase II: Testing – a before-and-after study

Between August 2018 and April 2019, research will test the effectiveness of the toolkit in childcare businesses. Childcare businesses have been chosen because they are one of the top five small business sectors for workers compensation claims.

Before seeing the toolkit, some childcare businesses will complete a survey to find out how well they understand and uphold their WHS obligations. Half of those who complete the survey will also receive the toolkit.

All respondents will be surveyed again after six weeks, 12 weeks and six months, so the research team can compare their responses. This will help show how well businesses that use the toolkit are able to increase their understanding of WHS over time.

Responses from businesses that received the toolkit will also be compared to those that did not receive the toolkit. This will allow the research team to isolate the impact of the toolkit from other changes in the sector.

Final focus groups and a review will take place in December 2019.

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