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The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 was developed by Safe Work Australia with the aim to reduce breaches of WHS practices, and ensure the health, safety and welfare of team members who may be negatively affected by work activities in the workplace.
Here are three reasons why having effective procedures in place to comply with the WHS Act is essential for your workplace:
Whether staff members fail to follow procedures or leaders fail to take effective preventative measures; injuries, fires and evacuations will hurt your organisation’s productivity and profitability. Accidents are inevitable and hazards exist in almost every workplace environment.
But if you invest time in the development of the health and safety of your team members, you will be able to prevent illness and injury. This is because adequate procedures will help your organisation understand and avoid the potential hazards in the work environment.
For example, chemicals, equipment, wires or even furniture can potentially cause harm to your team members. Remember that injuries are also psychologically damaging as well. Your organisation’s anti-bullying and sexual harassment procedures should be up to date and effective.
If you provide your team members with great compliance training, you will help manage such risks in your business and improve the safety and welfare of your team members.
While staff members have an obligation to report potential hazards and follow WHS procedures, the onus is on employers to maintain a safe workplace for its staff members. The federal WHS laws provides for great scrutiny and penalties for those that do not exercise due diligence to comply with WHS laws.
Ensuring that your workplace complies to the WHS Act will help decrease the risk of work stoppages, lawsuits, penalties, fines and even the closure of your business. Safe Work Australia’s report found that work-related injury and disease cost the Australian economy $61.8 billion, representing 4.1% GDP in 2012-13.
Furthermore, failing to meet WHS obligations can help someone strengthen their case. Take into account that implementing an effective work health and safety procedure in your organisation will help demonstrate good business practice to the public.
You do not want to risk the reputation of your company by neglecting your health and safety obligations as accidents will lead to negative publicity. If you avoid the legal problems and costs associated with poor management, your company’s reputation and assets are protected.
If you place emphasis on health and safety policies, it will prove your company’s credibility. A good idea is to state that your organisation is committed to working with a set of health and safety principles on your website and on job advertisements. This will highlight your organisation’s commitment to caring for its employees.
It is common for small businesses to struggle to keep up with the complex fair work laws in Australia and some find they are often caught up in breaches.
When an organisation invests time in developing consistent health and safety policies to comply with the WHS Act, it will save time in allowing health and safety matters to be handled efficiently through an existing procedure.
You will avoid the hindrance of team members dealing with issues as they happen or responding differently. Your team is more likely to stay with your company if they feel that they work in a fair, professional and safe environment. As an outcome, you will risk losing valuable team members if you do not proactively take the steps to include policies and procedures that mirror your legal compliance obligations to the WHS Act.
Reduce the risk of breaching WHS guidelines and help your employees stay up to speed with the latest Australian laws by upskilling your team with a WHS course.