It is the responsibility of every business owner and all managers with a substantial level of control over the workplace to exercise due diligence in the management of risks at the workplace.  Part of this requirement is the need to assess controls, and to keep up to date with risk control and response options and best practice.  This weeks HR Highlight will review some changes to standard business risk management frameworks that have occurred recently.

Recent Changes

There have been several changes to the Workplace Health and Safety Codes of Practice at a National and State level over the last few months.

The most recent have been changes to seven of the NSW WHS Codes of Practice, including Demolition Work, Excavation Work, First Aid at Work, Workplace Hazardous Chemicals, Electrical Risks, Managing the Risk of Falls and Spray Painting & Powder Coating.  Most of these changes to the Codes are small and will have little impact on most businesses, however there have been some significant changes to the best practice use of Fall Arresters to correct what was termed a dangerously incorrect instruction.  Full copies of the new Codes can be located on the WorkCover NSW website: here.

South Australia also recently amended several of its WHS Codes of Practice in line with the National Safe Work Australia Codes.  Again the changes are minor but will impact certain businesses so a review of the Codes in your business is recommended.  Full copies of the amended Codes can be located on the SafeWork SA website: here

In addition to the release of the amended and updated Codes, there have been several cases at the courts that have again highlighted the practical requirement to actively engage with other businesses with whom your business interacts.  Failure to actively engage with other businesses you interact with on safety can cost people and the business.

Staying Informed

Keeping up to date with the outcomes of safety cases at the courts, innovation in parallel industries, new product and engineering solutions, as well as new risks and administrative controls can be difficult.  There is a lot of information out there, and in the downstream petroleum industry State and National structures and laws interact and overlap, adding complexity to any ‘update’ undertaking.  Signing up for alerts with the State Health and Safety Regulator, industry regulators as well as both free and subscription safety and industry information aggregation services, is a great place to start.

So What Now?

While most of these changes are minor, and will not effect the operations at the workplace, it is important that as business owners and managers, that we implement processes to keep up to date with changes, incidents and responses, to ensure that our responses at our workplaces are appropriate.  There are many ways to ‘keep up to date’ but what is important is more than gathering the information, we need to get into the habit of booking time with ourselves and other responsible safety partners at work, to go through the information and assess if it warrants a change to the workplace practices or policies.

Finding time can be hard, but a short meeting once a month to review industry and risk information can pay dividends not just in reduced risks onsite, but also in being able to demonstrate active engagement in safety and the discharge of the businesses duty of care.

Here to help

ACAPMA members are reminded that they can access the advice support resources and representation of the ACAPMA Employment Professionals on this issue, or indeed any other employment issue, by calling 1300 160 270.

HR Highlights are things to consider, implement and watch out for in your business. They are provided as general advice and you should seek further advice on your situation by  calling 1300 160 270 and speaking to one of ACAPMA Employment Professionals its free for members.

Call 1300 160 270 or email to enquire about membership.

Elisha Radwanowski, B Com (HRM & IR)