WHS laws finally passed in SA

For regular followers of our safety blog it will come as no surprise that harmonised Work Health Safety legislation has recently been passed in SA. Over the past 12 months we have maintained close links with Safework SA and have kept you up to date with the latest news, predicting several months ago that the legislation would pass during spring 2012 with an early 2013 start date.

WHS was finally passed as legislation last week on Thursday 1 November 2012 and will come into effect on January 1, 2013. We can only image that many business owners will be panicking at the thought of what the new legislation means for them, especially in light of the fact that penalties have tripled and for the first time can include a jail term for individuals who flaunt the system.

WE ARE HERE TO HELP!

From the many conferences and information sessions we have attended on the subject to the experiences of our customers in NSW, NT and QLD, we can assure you all of a few things.

To ensure your business is on track to meeting the new legislation next year, the best place to start is right here with this article >   WHS how can I be ready? It is a no nonsense guide to preparing your business for the changes that are coming.

 

For those of you looking to engage new providers of safety services, training or buy new PPE to bring your company up to standards, ensure you are dealing with a reputable provider. We have become very aware in this country of fly by night businesses cropping up in industries for the short term to make a quick $ when the government introduces either a cash bonus or new legislative requirements such as  Solar Companies, Insulation Companies & restoration/building companies in flood/cyclone damaged areas. Our new online safety store (whsstore.com.au) is still under construction, however we have access to over 300 items of common PPE and safety equipment at below retail cost, please feel free to email us for a price if you looking for something info@affa.net.au

 

Personally my best advice is to know and understand the Australian Standards, industry requirements and other laws which govern your industry and be sure that you are compliant with what they require. Do not take the word of a provider; the onus is upon you to ensure you are receiving the correct information. One of the most significant changes to a common legislation that affects all businesses with premises that is either open to the public or employs more than 1 non family member is AS3745-2010 Planning for emergencies in facilities. The training requirements in section 6.1 of this standard have now become a requirement under WHS and require all staff trained to assist in an emergency situation (first aiders, wardens etc) to undergo some form of training not less than once, in every 6 month period. Don’t get caught out updating your first aid every 6 months, contact us now to find out how to meet these new requirements without breaking the training budget.

 

THe pasing of WHS in SA leaves on WA and VIC lagging behind, click here to read the official announcment from Safework SA

WHS – how can I be ready?

One of the toughest questions facing businesses in the final quarter of 2011 is ‘how can I be ready for something if I don’t know exactly what it is’? At Australian Fire & First Aid we are here to help, we have reviewed a wide variety of documentation available from various sources and industry bodies around the country and have also attended seminars so we can combine the best bits of that advice for you here in one place.

To create this blog article we first sat down as a team and brainstormed our best advice that we have been providing to our clients. Next we compared our ideas to the advice being offered by official government bodies and industry sources to ensure we were on track and providing current and correct information. We also reviewed a wide variety of articles from unofficial bodies to see if they had suggested anything we hadn’t thought of. We found that everything we had thought of had already been mentioned somewhere on the internet, we also found that no single site had a list as comprehensive as we are about to provide. For this reason we will not be crediting every department, body, source or blog we have reviewed to get to this point. Instead we have chosen to provide you with links to the government safety agency/body in all Australian States and Territories and other relevant links which will assist you in being prepared and moving forward .

All Businesses

STEP 1) Immediately set aside some specific time for your ECO, Safety Representatives, Business Owner or other applicable person/s to review your current policies and procedures. Compare them to the current OHS laws by which you are bound. Do you meet the current standards? The national harmonisation laws will not be too different from what is currently in place in most states. From the information we have received the ‘what’ & ‘who’ of safety won’t change as much as the ‘how’. Ensuring you are compliant with all current legislation is a great place to start.

STEP 2) Set aside some time at the very beginning of 2012 for the health and safety representatives and other key stakeholders of your business to meet, review and discuss the changes that have occurred. Be prepared to issue communication to all staff about any changes that affect your workplace. This would be a great time to discuss available communication strategies, how cost effective they are to implement and if they will succeed in meeting your target audience.

STEP 3) Set aside some funds for the first quarter of 2012 for WHS education. There are and will be many free seminars available nationwide from government bodies (see links below) regarding the changes but these book out extremely quickly and you should be prepared to pay for training if free training is not available. Discuss the types of training that may be required and the number of people who may require it to set a realistic budget. You will see from our tips below that many forms of training are required and should have already occurred.

STEP 4) Consider conducting a site inspection concentrating on the 14 points below, if you are time poor or unsure of how to properly assess your current situation outsource to a reputable company.

Small Businesses

The following is listed in alphabetical order, the order each category is listed in should not be taken as a sign of each aspects importance.

1)      Asbestos – Ensure your company has an asbestos register and that it is up to date. Conduct a mini audit to assess if all asbestos in the premises is clearly and correctly labelled. Any asbestos which is breaking up or in poor condition must be dealt with immediately by a licenced professional. http://www.asbestosaustralia.com.au/

2)      Chemicals – Do you have a chemicals register? Do you have Material Safety Data Sheet’s for each of the chemicals used in your workplace, are they stored and handled correctly and are the people using them TRAINED to do so (if required)? http://www.msds.com.au/

3)      Electrical – Have you had your required equipment tagged and tested, is it up to date and the register complete and current? Is all of your equipment in good working order with no damaged cables or plugs? Does your business premises have a hard wired safety switch installed? Click link to see a table from the Australian Standard of testing requirements and frequencies AS3760-2010 Tag & Test Table

4)      Fire – Do you have access to the required amount of portable fire fighting equipment? Has the equipment been maintained in accordance with standards and all registers relating to servicing up to date? Is your staff TRAINED to operate the equipment or act as a warden in an emergency?

5)      First Aid – Do you have the required number and type of TRAINED First Aiders? Do you have the required number and correct type of First Aid Kits available, are they stocked and does each contain appropriate record keeping information?

6)      Forklifts – Are all operators appropriately TRAINED and currently licensed? Have safety issues been identified & recorded and are they being followed such as wearing of seatbelts and use of reverse tones, lights and sound signals for movement throughout the business premises? Ensure your vehicle(s) is well maintained and all faults are rectified immediately.

7)      Height – Do you have appropriate handrails, industrial ladders & clear access? Are youn oeprating from a stable platform? Is appropriate footwear and if part of a multi-tiered construction, headwear being worn? Have all reasonable measures to prevent a fall been taken?

8)      Machinery – Ensure all machinery is in safe working order & operators are adequately TRAINED. Ensure all by products of powering or operating machinery such as fuel, wood chips, swarf or similar are appropriately managed for safety and environmental factors. Determine if powered equipment needs/meets tag & test requirements.

9)      Manual Handling – Evaluate the need for staff to be TRAINED in manual handling procedures. Consider signage to encourage best practises where manual handling is a frequent occurrence. Evaluate high risk handling operations and seek eliminate them or find alternatives.

10)   Noise – Have all efforts been made to reduce noisy undertakings where possible? Ensure noise reduction equipment is appropriate, well maintained and available to all affected persons on or near site. Is decibel testing (otoacoustic emissions testing) required & up to date?

11)   PPE – Determine what Personal Protective Equipment is required for your site and ensure it is available. Ensure all PPE meets current standards, is in good repair, fits well and is accessible to those who may require it.

12)   Records/Registers – Have records relating to TRAINING, near miss reports, hazards, accidents, site meetings etc been stored for correct periods & in the correct manner? Do you have & use registers for site visitors, chemicals (MSDS), asbestos, training or other areas which require a register? Is the information within current?

13)   Storage –  Clear access to paths, to and from surrounding areas and ensure storage areas are free of clutter. Check that installed systems are correct type and strength for items being stored, locks where required are available and in working order and being used.

14)   Surface Maintenance – Ensure all walkway surfaces are cleared of debris & clutter, cords, cables and other tripping hazards are removed. Ensure surfaces are non-slip where possible and signed elsewhere and appropriate footwear is worn at all times. Assess condition of surfaces for maintenance requirements including pot holes, uneven broken concrete, frayed carpet, and mould build up or other potential health or safety hazards and address immediately or outsource to an appropriate agency.

Medium and Large Businesses

The 14 key areas of self-assessment for small businesses (above) is a useful tool to be distributed to the OHS representatives and management at sites or departments of larger businesses. The following information has been listed in alphabetical order, the order each category is listed in should be not taken as a sign of its importance.

1)      Accountability – Identify key safety stakeholders in your business, ensure responsibilities are clearly documented, understood and accepted. Provide TRAINING where appropriate to elected position holders. Ensure reps are known to all (safety board) and accessible.

2)      Consultation – Consult with staff and other key stakeholders regarding health and safety issues on a regular basis and ensure appropriate channels are established for feedback and commentary.

3)      Hazards & Risks – Eliminate all possible hazards and risks from operations, minimise the impact of those unable to be eliminated by way of training, procedures & supply of safety equipment where reasonably possible.

4)      Injury Management – Ensure return to work programs are managed by competent trained staff (Return to Work Coordinator) or outsourced to a suitable agency. Ensure consultation occurs to inform injured parties of available options and services.

5)      Planning – Include relevant policies on health and safety in your businesses strategic plan/mission statement. Assess corporate infrastructure to ensure resources are available and adequate to carryout duties and achieve targets as described in policies.

6)      Reporting/Records Management – Ensure all reports of serious hazards, risks, injuries and claims are reported through appropriate channels to correct management levels. Assess record keeping of reports to ensure compliance with current legislation.

7)      Training – Ensure elected and volunteer OHS representatives, Return to Work Coordinators and OHS staff are appropriately trained to undertake prescribed duties. Re-evaluate positions regularly to ensure above are capable and willing to fulfil role responsibilities.

As mentioned previously there are a number of bodies and organisations across Australia who are regarded as experts in the matters of OHS & WHS. Free training seminars are being run regularly to inform the business community and wider public of the proposed national harmonisation of WHS. Please speak to your local official government department for further information or clarification of WHS.

National Agencies

Business .gov.au                             www.business.gov.au

Safe Work Australia                       www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au

Local Agencies

Australian Capital Territory         www.ors.act.gov.au

New South Wales                            www.workcover.nsw.gov.au

Northern Territory                         www.worksafe.nt.gov.au

Queensland                                      www.deir.qld.gov.au

South Australia                               www.worksafe.sa.gov.au

Tasmania                                          www.workcover.tas.gov.au

Victoria                                             www.worksafe.vic.gov.au

Western Australia                           www.commerce.wa.gov.au/worksafe/

Copyright Australian Fire & First Aid 2011. Reproduction of this article in part or whole is not permitted without the express written permission of Australian Fire & First Aid, must contain original links and must credit Australian Fire & First Aid. To request permission to reproduce this article please contact info@affa.net.au

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WHS – who will enforce the new laws?

New National Work Health Safety laws are coming to Australia soon. The team here at Australian Fire & First Aid have been doing their research to be able to provide you with the best, most accurate information that is currently available on the subject including:

New National WHS explained?

How laws are made in Australia – this is important as it will help you understand why the word ‘proposed’ is used a lot.

When will the new laws be passed and come into effect?

How long will we have to comply with the new WHS laws?

Who is going to enforce the new laws?

What you can do now to be ready?

New national WHS laws are coming January 1st, 2012

Before you read how laws are made in Australia, have you read our previous article How long do businesses have to comply? You may find this article easier to follow if it is read in order.

WHO WILL ENFORCE THE NEW LAWS?

The same bodies and authorities who currently enforce the state and territory based Occupational Health & Safety laws will enforce the new national WHS laws, such as unions and Workcover.

If you would like to speak to Australian Fire & First Aid about Fire Training, First Aid Training, Safety Training or Safety Services please give us a call on (08) 8596 4243, we provide training and services Australia Wide.

Our next article is entitled WHS – what you can do now to be ready.

If you would like to speak to Australian Fire & First Aid about Fire Training, First Aid Training, Safety Training or Safety Services please give us a call on (08) 8596 4243, we provide training and services Australia Wide.

Our next article is entitled WHS – What you can do now to be ready

Copyright Australian Fire & First Aid 2011. Reproduction of this article must be in its entirety and credit ww.affa.net.au

WHS – how long do business have to comply?

New National Work Health Safety laws are coming to Australia soon. The team here at Australian Fire & First Aid have been doing their research to be able to provide you with the best, most accurate information that is currently available on the subject including:

New National WHS explained?

How laws are made in Australia – this is important as it will help you understand why the word ‘proposed’ is used a lot.

When will the new laws be passed and come into effect?

How long will we have to comply with the new WHS laws?

Who is going to enforce the new laws?

What you can do now to be ready?

New national WHS laws are coming January 1st, 2012

Before you read how laws are made in Australia, have you read our previous article When will the new laws come into effect? You may find this article easier to follow if it is read in order.

HOW LONG WILL BUSINESSES HAVE TO COMPLY WITH THE NEW WHS LAWS?

To date the only concrete information we have received is ‘businesses will be given a reasonable length of time to comply’ sounds a little like that old question ‘how long is a piece of string?’ but common sense will dictate what a reasonable length of time is. For example if a business is required to undeRtake a safety service such as Electrical Tagging & Testing every 3 months and they have not undertaken that service in the past, it would not be reasonable for them to book their first service in May 2012. Sometime within the first 3 months of 2012 would be far more reasonable. A business which is already undertaking a service that will require increased frequency due to WHS will be given a little more leniency to adjust their service or training schedule to meet the new laws. It is widely expected that safety companies will be inundated with new requests over the normally quiet period of December and January from businesses seeking to be compliant with the new laws. Not everyone will be able to receive the training they require immediately. If you are able to prove you have booked in for required services or training and have been given the next available date you should be covered.  At Australian Fire & First Aid we provide our clients with a booking confirmation letter which shows the date the enquiry for services was first made and the date of the course/service booking. If your staff require a particular type of training every 6 months it would not be reasonable to wait 5 months to make an enquiry and then produce a booking confirmation for 3 months later. Penalties will apply to businesses who do not comply with the WHS laws.

If you would like to speak to Australian Fire & First Aid about Fire Training, First Aid Training, Safety Training or Safety Services please give us a call on (08) 8596 4243, we provide training and services Australia Wide.

Our next article is entitled WHS – Who will enforce the new laws?

Copyright Australian Fire & First Aid 2011. Reproduction of this article must be in its entirety and credit http://www.affa.net.au

WHS – when will the new laws come into effect?

New National Work Health Safety laws are coming to Australia soon. The team here at Australian Fire & First Aid have been doing their research to be able to provide you with the best, most accurate information that is currently available on the subject including:

New National WHS explained?

How laws are made in Australia – this is important as it will help you understand why the word ‘proposed’ is used a lot.

When will the new laws be passed and come into effect?

How long will we have to comply with the new WHS laws?

Who is going to enforce the new laws?

What you can do now to be ready?

New national WHS laws are coming January 1st, 2012

Before you read how laws are made in Australia, have you read our previous article How Laws Are Made In Australia? You may find this article easier to follow if it is read in order.

WHEN WILL THE NEW LAWS COME INTO EFFECT?

Once the parliamentary process is completed the bill is sent to the Governor General (for National/Commonwealth Law) to give the Queens seal of approval, this process is usually a formality however the Governor General does have powers to refuse approval but they are rarely used. The date the Governor General stamps the seal of approval is the day the law comes into effect unless the bill includes a clause stating the law will commence on a specific date. In the case of the new national WHS legislation the proposed date that the law will commence is January 1, 2012. This means that the bill suggesting the WHS legislation will need to pass both houses of parliament and receive the Queens seal of approval from the Governor General before December 31st, 2011.

At this stage there is no public suggestion that anybody or relevant group will suggest changes to the proposed legislation before it is presented to parliament, or that either house of parliament will seek amendments to the bill before passing it. The current model legislation is expected to be passed as law with little or no changes. This is why no one can confirm 100% what will or won’t be included in the new laws as we can’t be certain until it has gone through the parliamentary approval process.

If you would like to speak to Australian Fire & First Aid about Fire Training, First Aid Training, Safety Training or Safety Services please give us a call on (08) 8596 4243, we provide training and services Australia Wide.

Our next article is entitled WHS – How long do businesses have to comply?

Copyright Australian Fire & First Aid 2011. Reproduction of this article must be in its entirety and credit http://www.affa.net.au

WHS – how laws are made in Australia

New National Work Health Safety laws are coming to Australia soon. The team here at Australian Fire & First Aid have been doing their research to be able to provide you with the best, most accurate information that is currently available on the subject including:

New National WHS explained?

How laws are made in Australia – this is important as it will help you understand why the word ‘proposed’ is used a lot.

When will the new laws be passed and come into effect?

How long will we have to comply with the new WHS laws?

Who is going to enforce the new laws?

What you can do now to be ready?

New national WHS laws are coming January 1st, 2012

Before you read how laws are made in Australia, have you read our previous article New National WHS Laws Explained?

HOW LAWS ARE MADE IN AUSTRALIA

Laws are made in one of two ways in Australia, either by the courts which is called case law, or by parliament which is called legislation. The new national WHS laws will be created by legislation via the national parliament in Canberra.

Before anything can become law or as it is known an item of legislation, it has to be proposed, this means it has to be suggested as an idea for a new law. When an idea is proposed to parliament it is called a bill. A bill is also used to raise proposed changes to an existing law.

Proposals for new legislation, or amendments to existing legislation, can be created by many different groups or bodies including both the governing and opposition parties of government, or through suggested amendments to existing laws received from bodies like the Australian Law Reform Commission. A member of parliament (from any political party) must present the prosposal to either the upper or lower house and explain what the law or amendment entails, why it is being proposed. The other members of parliament are given an opportunity to ask questions relating to the bill before being asked to vote on it and amendments to the original bill can be made. If the bill is passed it is then presented to the other house and voted upon, if the second house requests any amendments before passing it must be sent back to the original house so that the amendments can be approved.

Once this process is completed the bill is sent to the Governor General (for National/Commonwealth Law) to give the Queens seal of approval, this process is usually a formality however the Governor General does have powers to refuse approval but they are rarely used.

This is the process the new model WHS legislation must go through before it beomes law.

If you would like to speak to Australian Fire & First Aid about Fire Training, First Aid Training, Safety Training or Safety Services please give us a call on (08) 8596 4243, we provide training and services Australia Wide.

Our next article is entitled WHS – when will the new laws come into effect?

Copyright Australian Fire & First Aid 2011. Reproduction of this article must be in its entirety and credit http://www.affa.net.au