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National Safe Work Month – Managing WHS risks and preventing harm – Health & Safety

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October is National Safe Work Month, so we’re asking you to
take five and think about safety in your business. This week,
special counsel Gemma Sharp talks about the management of health
and safety risks and the steps you need to take to prevent injuries
and illnesses in the workplace.

Video transcript

October is National Safe Work Month, and each week we’re
asking you to think safety in your business. I’m Gemma Sharp, a
special counsel in Cooper Grace Ward’s workplace relations and
safety team. In week one, I asked you to think about some of the
common health and safety risks which exist within your business. In
week two, Belinda Winter asked you to think about mental health
risks to your workers, particularly those hazards which could pose
a risk to psychological illnesses for your workers. This week I
want to speak with you a little bit about the management of health
and safety risks and the steps you need to take to implement risk
management practices. To manage risks, it’s a PCBU’s
responsibility to identify the hazards which may potentially cause
a risk to injury to their workers in the workplace, and then assess
those risks and think about the likelihood of any consequences
occurring which could pose an injury or illness to their
workers’ health and safety. As Belinda discussed with you last
week, when we’re talking hazards, we’re not just talking
about the physical hazards which could result in physical injury,
but also those that could impact a worker’s psychological
health and safety. Once you’ve identified the risks in your
business, you then need to consider the control measures you can
implement to manage those risks. Asking employees to wear personal
protective equipment is not a sufficient control measure in the
first instance. Firstly, you should be considering whether or not
you can eliminate the hazard within your business. If you can’t
eliminate it, think of how you can implement measures to minimise
the risk to health and safety. Once you’ve implemented control
measures to eliminate any hazards or systems to minimise the risk
to health and safety, you can then use personal protective
equipment to protect employees from any residual hazards which may
exist in the task they’re performing. In doing this, consulting
with your workers is really important. Remember, they’re the
people who are performing the tasks, so they may be aware of
further hazards, which you have not thought about. Including them
also in implementation of control measures results in them being
more likely to utilise those control measures and for a successful
risk management process to be implemented. So, this week of
National Safe Work Month, take the time to consider whether or not
you have implemented risk management processes for those hazards
which exist within your business. Or if you’ve already done
that, use the time to review the control measures which you’ve
implemented to ensure that they’re still effective, to ensure
health and safety of workers. If you find you need assistance in
reviewing your safety systems or have any questions generally about
work health and safety matters, please don’t hesitate to give a
member of our workplace relations and safety team a call.

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