Workplace Health and Safety Management System helps in ensuring the health and safety of the employees and other stakeholders of an organisation. It has now become an inseparable part in the organisations over industries. This policies and legislations mentioned in the WHS management system guides the organisations to establish the safety in the workplace by implementing policies and procedures (Xiang et al 2014). This can include risk identification, risk assessment, evaluation of present and potential risk due to situation change, policy implementation, review of the implemented policies and revision of the policies as required. The process of implementation also includes the incorporation of the employees in risk identification, training the staffs for avoiding risks and similar emergency situations if occur (Chan-Mok, Caponecchia and Winder 2014). The organisation under study is VTI, which is a mining and mineral extraction organisation, where the workplace risk remains high. Hence, it becomes necessary for the management to incorporate WHS management system for ensuring the safety of the stakeholders in the organisations especially the employees that are working in the mines or Victoria. This essay will identify the necessity of WHS in VTI for ensuring the health and safety and will also communicate the modification required in the existing policies of the company for expanding their venture in Queensland and south Victoria.
Need for WHS Management System
Incorporation of WHSMS in VTI Group Mining and Minerals is crucial for ensuring the workplace health and safety due to the type of work conducted. The hazards exists in mining can cause serious damage to both the environment and the employees working, which may result into permanent or partial damage to the stakeholders (Idubor and Oisamoje 2013). Hence, it is necessary for the company to establish WHSMS in various levels of their operations.
Legislations for WHS
Their exists certain legislations that govern the WHS. Work Health and Safety legislation, ASIC Act 2001 and Fair Work Act 1994 directly contribute in governing the workplace safety of the organisation (Legislation.gov.au 2018; Legislation.sa.gov.au 2018). Privacy Act 1988 incorporates thirteen privacy principles for managing personal information of the organisation. Anti-discrimination legislation identifies the equal right of the stakeholders involved with the organisation. Corporation Act 2001, New Tax System Act 1000, and Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 on the other hand helps the organisation in allocating their budget necessary for ensuring the health and safety in the workplace (Legislation.gov.au 2018). The legislations all together help in establishing WHSMS in an organisation (Business.gov.au 2018).
Despite of proper policies and procedures for WHSMS implemented in the organization, a number of loopholes allows the negative incidents occur. Hence, the primary modification that can be suggested in the organisation related to WHS is the supervision of the policies and procedures implemented. Secondly, the company can reduce the gap of reviewing the WHSMS that is currently set at 2 years. Thirdly, the company can involve more personnel in the WHS management for increasing the efficiency of the system (safeworkaustralia.gov.au 2018). Lastly, the company should improve their induction and training program by providing training that is more detailed to the new employees. This is because they are completely unfamiliar with the working condition and environment.
The responsibilities for ensuring safety in the workplace lies with two primary stakeholders of the organisation that are management and workers. The management is responsible for implementing and upholding the workplace safety for the workers; whereas, the workers are responsible for follow the safety guideline set by the management in the workplace for ensuring their safety. They are liable to operate within the guideline for avoiding the unwanted situations that might occur due to their negligence. The management is again responsible providing training to the workers according to the guideline set.
Human and Financial Resources Required
The human resources required by WHS are the managers, HR managers, finance manager, trainer, worker, WHR consultant, field manager, emergency that are within the organisation. The external human resource incorporate the emergency departments like fire brigade, paramedics etc. for overcoming the adverse situation if occurs. The financial resources on the other hand involve the equipments, clothing, first aid kit, and other facilities that will increase the safety of the workplace.
Individual Responsible for Approving
CEO, Chief Financial Officer, Chief operating Officer and Field manager are responsible for approving both human resources and financial resources.
Legislative Changes Recommended
The WHS legislation of Queensland and WA slightly differs from the one of Victoria that requires the company to change their legislation as well (Australianbusiness.com.au 2018). The modified legislation should incorporate the following:
- Health checkups of the employees
- Mine survey planning
- Increased control over certain hazards
- Additional on site supervisor appointment
Amendments Relevant to State Legislation
The amended legislation for expanding over states will require appointment of health care team in the mines for regular checkups of the workers in the mine. Moreover, the company should incorporate plan for conducting regular survey in the mines for ensuring the safety of the workers (Business.gov.au 2018). This will keep the company updated with the situation in the mines. Lastly, the company should appoint additional on site executive for taking necessary decisions on emergency situations for avoiding unwanted situation in the mines.
Change in Responsibilities
The responsibilities of the workers and the management will remain same as the mines in Victoria. However, the authority of decision-making has to be decentralised. The onsite executives should be empowered with decision-making ability on emergency situations for ensuring safety of the workers. However, they will be liable for reporting the higher authority for every day-to-day activity to keeping them update about the situation. This will enable them to understand the situation and take necessary actions for identifying permanent solution for the situation.
It is important for the management in every industry to have and hazard management procedure for minimising the risk. The same goes for the VTI group of Mining and Minerals for expanding their venture in the Western Australia and Queensland as the workplace risk in this industry is considerably high for the workers involved. The management of VTI should incorporate certain management procedure for ensuring the hazards under control (Bahn 2013). They are:
- Hazard identification – Encouraging the workers for reporting hazards is the best possible way in case of mining industry for identification of hazards. Other possible mead of hazard identification includes quality evaluation, industry information bulletin, customers and visitors feedback, workplace inspection, and accident report review.
- Set separate budget for assessing risk and controlling related activities
- Training the staffs
- Guideline setup for hazard identification and reporting
- Regular checkups for identified hazards
Risk management process for the company will include a number of step starting from risk assessment to mitigation of the risk.
Risk Analysis – This includes identification of risk, evaluation of the possible impact of the risk and consideration of the likelihood of the risk.
This will include the identification of the severity of the risk, number of people affected by the risk, difficulty of controlling risk, benefits of controlling risk and alignment of the organisation policies with the risk according to the priority
Risk Control – process of controlling risk can be ranking basing on the level of protection and reliability. Complete elimination of the risk is preferable and considered to provide highest protection.
Hierarchy of Control
The extent of the control measures taken for minimising the identified risks can be put into the hierarchical order. The ranking is then done in accordance of the level of protection and the reliability of the measures taken. Elimination of the hazards is considered as highly reliable as well as provides highest degree of protection from the identified risk (Schulte et al 2013). A number of methods can provide assistance from identification of the risk to controlling them, which are risk and hazard checklist, hazard hunt, safety analysis, safe procedure communication, satisfaction analysis through questionnaires, and work inspection.
Changes proposed can give birth to new hazards in the workplace. Hence, it is necessary to eliminate the risk without creating new hazards. The process will include modification of the working group, modification and change of the equipments and modification of the practices.
The workers in Victorian site are not well equipped with the instruments required for mitigating the risks. Hence, it is important for modifying the work practices with new advanced equipments to minimise the risk. This will require further financial resources to modify the operation.
Loophole identification and Mitigation
The company conducts review once in every two years in their Victorian mines, which can reduce for increasing the identification process. Moreover, the company can involve more personnel in the WHS management for increasing the efficiency of the system in their new mining plants in Western Victoria and Queensland. Furthermore, improvement of the induction and training program can be advised to attain safety in the workplace. Lastly, the company invest in advanced technologies for ensuring the safety of the workers, which will further help in increasing revenue generation (Santos et al 2013). The implementation of the greater human resources in the WHS management and financial resources for equipping the workers with advanced technologies will considerably reduce the risks that exist in the Victorian mines. As evidenced in the case study, the greater number of workers in the Victorian mines faced injury due to the lack of advanced equipments for performing the task or protection from the harsh environment of the mine.
Expert Advice in Safety Planning and Implementation
VTI Group of Mining and Minerals will be requiring group of WHS experts in the safety planning process. Moreover, the key principles that needs to be addressed in the planning process are ground stability, inundation and inrush, mineshaft and winding operation, roads and vehicle operation areas, airborne dust and other contaminations, fire, gas outburst, and lionising radiation (Zhang et al 2015). These common hazards along with the experts’ advice on the process of eliminating them will be required at the time of planning.
As the company is newly establishing their mines in Western Australia and Queensland, the employees that will be working will be new. Hence, they will be requiring the complete induction and training for operating in the mines ensuring the safety of themselves and the co-workers. The new employees will be communicated following WHS induction:
This induction will help the newly appointed employees to form idea of the precautions necessary for working in the mines of Western Australia and Queensland. Moreover, this also aware employees about both the WHS policies and the company policies necessary for ensuring safety of the workers (Holt and Allen 2015). This also communicates the health and safety benefits they will be receiving from the company.
The employees also needs to be trained accordingly in the workplace and maintaining safety. The training program for the newly appointed employees in the mines of the specific areas is as follows:
The WHS legislation of the states makes it necessary for both the company and the employees to provide and receive the training on specific topics. This is valid for both the new and the existing employees for the company. This training includes the above-mentioned topics along with the WHS compliance requirements, WHS consultation for HSR and HSCs.
Documentation of the hazards identified or occurred is important, as it will provide valuable information to the organisation about the particular hazard. This will in turn help the company in mitigation of the issue and gain efficiency in handling the issue in the future if arises (Yoon et al 2013). The record keeping procedure that will be valuable for the company in their Western Australia and Queensland are:
- Inspection of the hazard reports
- Consultation – this includes the meeting with both the health and safety supervisors and the workers of the mines
- Medical records of the employees
- Monitoring of the environment of the mines
- Verification of the equipment provided to the workers
- Regular inspection of the equipment and update recording
WHS Management System Evaluation
Quality framework is the best-suited instrument in this case for measuring the WHS management system. This is a system adopted by the organisation for defining the standards maintained (Yoon et al 2013). This can be considered as the benchmark of quality management that ensures the health and safety, workplace environment and risk management of the organisation.
In case of evaluation of the WHS management system incorporated by the organisation, it is possible to use the proactive and reactive monitoring system. This helps in identifying the relevance of the policies implemented in the process of ensuring safety.
The lead and lag indicator will also be used in this case for identifying the WHSMS performance. The lead indicator will help in taking precautions and preventing the hazards to take place in the workplace; whereas, the lag indicator will help evaluating the incidents that have already occurred.
Three steps that can be recommended for incorporation within the WHS management system for improving the organisational performance are:
- Performance measurement
- Preparation and implementation of the action plan
- Monitoring and reviewing of the implemented plan for identifying the improvements.
Legislative Framework compliance
It is important for VTI Group of Mining and Minerals to align their WHS legislative framework with the WHS legal requirements of the states they are planning to expand. Structured review in this case will be helpful for identifying and ensuring the compliance. This involves:
- Review of the state WHS legislation and company policy
- Tracking the amendments made in the state WHS legislation
- Identification of the impact of the legislation in the company policy and procedure
- Usefulness of the policy implemented
- Audit of the health and safety condition in the workplace.
It is possible to conclude from the above that the VTI Group of Mining and Minerals, which is currently operating in Victoria has efficient work health and safety management system for ensuring the safety of the employees. However, some of the possible loopholes have been identified that are causing hazards in the mine of Victoria. It is possible to assume from the above analysis that the hazards are the results of the use of inefficient equipment by the company. The necessary modification in the WHSMS policies of the company is provided. Moreover, the modification required for expanding the business in Western Australia and Queensland has also been mentioned in the above. Proper implementation of the plans proposed and training mentioned will gain potential benefit to the company in expanding their business in the mentioned states of Australia.
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