I. What is Workplace Health and Safety and Why is it so Important?
Workplace Health and Safety or also known as Occupational Health and Safety (OHS), involves the management of risks to the health and safety of every employee in the workplace. This also includes the health and safety of your customers (if applicable), visitors, suppliers, etc.
For businesses, it may cost a little bit more time and money to properly implement WHS practices, measures, and tools but it is definitely critical to the business as not taking action may result to consequences like penalties from WHS authorities, or even losing some of the company’s skilled staff members.
Overall, implementing WHS measures is one way of reassuring everyone involved in the business, that the company is serious in maintaining everyone’s well-being to ensure optimal work conditions and a risk-free environment.
To stress the importance of workplace safety even more, here are some stats to open your eyes on workplace injuries and fatalities in Australia:
Work-related fatalities by age group
Work-related fatalities by mechanism
II. Benefits of WHS in your Business
Creating and fostering a safe working environment is considered crucial for the long term success of a business and can contribute to the following benefits:
1. Helps retain valuable staff – No one wants to work in an environment where you have to worry about your health and safety all the time.
So, when your staff feels completely safe working in a workspace with WHS best practices properly implemented, then it’s less likely for your staff to leave — unless they have other reasons, of course. Let your staff know that their safety and well-being is one of the business’ top priority!
2. Minimise injury and illness in the workplace – Having sound WHS measures in place will greatly help in minimising any risk of injury or illness in the workplace.
This might as well be the best benefit that WHS has to offer – after all, it’s all about keeping everyone all safe and sound.
Also, on the employer’s end, healthy employees who feel absolutely safe in the workplace will inevitably perform more efficiently – so you might want to put WHS on the top of your priorities.
3. Reduce costs of injury and workers’ compensation – Companies who invest in workplace health and safety would more often than not save a lot more than those who don’t in terms of workers’ compensation.
Businesses with no WHS tend to shell out more than they have to just because their workplace isn’t risk-free.
The fact is, not only do you protect your workers from hazards, injury, and illness in the workplace, but you get to reduce overall cost in workers’ compensation as well when proper WHS is observed.
4. Ensures businesses meet legal obligations and employee responsibilities – With workplace health and safety measures in place, this ensures that businesses take the responsibility of being compliant with these measures.
Setting up WHS in the office is one thing, but the effort to comply and maintain the responsibilities that come with it is another.
III. Who is Responsible for Health and Safety in the Workplace?
While it’s an established fact that employers have this responsibility towards their employees, health and safety in the workplace is actually everyone’s responsibility.
Everyone in the business may contribute in observing proper workplace safety measures.
As an employee, one of the many ways you may contribute is by making sure that your behaviour does not promote any unsafe act that may cause harm to your colleagues. After all, you shouldn’t have the time to horse around during work hours anyway, right?
As the employer, you should be able to oversee everything that should concern the business’s WHS best practices and see to it that they are implemented effectively.
But moreover, businesses can assign specific personnel to be in charge of maintaining the company’s health and safety in the workplace and everything that comes with it.
A Workplace Health and Safety Officer ensures that the company is always up to date when it comes to WHS matters. They assess, observe and report on the business’s status in terms of workplace health and safety.
If there are hazards and risks that need immediate attention, they should be the first ones to know and act on the matter.
IV. How Do I Become a WHS Officer/Safety Officer?
Passionate about keeping the workplace a safe and healthy environment? The latest BSB41419 Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety will help you jumpstart your career as a WHS officer in the workplace.
The course will help you gain a basic understanding of the latest Australian Safety regulations and best practices. Develop the necessary skills in safety – which includes contributing to the implementation of workplace health and safety management systems, identify risks and apply risk management processes and how to assist with managing WHS compliance within the business.
If in any case you already have the Cert IV WHS and is looking to take the next step in your career, then the BSB51315 Diploma of Work Health and Safety is the next step to take your career further!
The Diploma in WHS is designed to help you build on your existing experience and training in work health and safety. Expand your existing knowledge of workplace health and safety laws, regulations and best practices and develop your leadership skills on safety management in the work environment.
The importance of workplace health and safety is surely highlighted within these courses, and is definitely the fundamental aspect in which you must grasp for you to be an efficient WHS Officer.
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