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Question:

Each State and Territory has a principal health and safety Act which sets out requirements for ensuring that workplaces are safe and healthy. These requirements spell out the general responsibilities of different groups of people who play a role in the workplace. Research the Work Health Safety Act in your state or territory and discuss the follow:

• The key Objects of the Act

• The duties of employers and employees under the Act

• The purpose of consultation, representation and participation and how this is conducted in the workplace

• The role of HR in relation to the implementation of the OHS and Act in the workplace.
 
 

Answer:

One of the most critical areas of employee relations is workplace health and safety covering employee safety at the workplace. It also includes organizations initiative to implement health and safety at workplace and ensures employee well-being in the society. The objective of health and security act in Australia is to provide a legislative framework for all the employers in the organization to protect them from all the hazards to ensure their health and safety in the workplace, and other factors affecting their safety at the workplace. Before 2012, 1st January each state and territory in Australia has its sets of legislation to deal with the issues. Later on, they have amended the act to implement a uniform rule across Australia, and it has reduced the confusion arising from different legislation in various States and Territories (Bradbury‐Jones et al. 2013).

The New South Wales Act 1823 is an act of Parliament of UK for the betterment of administration of justice in New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land and its purpose is to make Government that is more active. The act was passed to provide superior court and a responsible Government in New South Wales. Furthermore, the Government of New South Wales has immense power and follows the Colonial Office in the United Kingdom. Francis Forbes, the former chief Justice of Newfoundland was engaged in drafting the bill. The aim of the act is to create a legislative Council for New South Wales. Secondly, It has made the Supreme Court of New South Wales equally powerful to that of the King’s Bench in UK. Thirdly, it has created the office of Chief Justice of the court. Fourthly, it has separated the Van Diemen’s Land from New South Wales. Fourthly, they have done the Supreme Court of Van Diemen’s Land to Supreme Court of Tasmania. The act is considered in Australia very important steps towards implementing the representative democracy. In addition to this the law has issued the letters patent by the Government of UK (Bahn and Kitching 2013).  

 

Objective

  • The primary purposes of the Act are to secure health and safety of the workers by
  • Protecting the employees and their health and safety at the workplace by eliminating the risks by reducing the risk associated with the job.
  • Ensure safe workplace practices and co-ordination
  • Recognizing unions role to it to improve the workplace free from risk and helping the company to create a healthy environment.
  • Appropriate measures should be taken to secure compliance with this Act
  • Ensuring continuous improvement and establish a higher standard of workplace health and safety law.
  • Maintaining and strengthening nations laws related to workplace health and safety in this territory.

In addition to that, the workers and other employees are given highest level of protection to their health and security against any kind of hazards and risks that are arising at workplace, which needs management’s control to handle it strictly and ensure proper implementation to resist those incidents to occur at workplace (Badland et al. 2014) . 

Duties of employees and employers under the Act

Duty of officers

  • As per the act, the person conducting a business or undertaking must comply with that the duty or obligation.
  • The maximum charge is fixed as per Division 5
  • As per section 33 the charge is set for any violation except provisions related to Division 2 or 3.
  • A person is guilty of the offense committed as per the rule mentioned(Idris et al. 2012).

In this section, due diligence refers to the following steps

  • To keep and gather updated knowledge related to health and safety.
  • To develop increasing understanding regarding the enterprise and the person who is running the operation, the risks, hazards associated with a business.
  • The employer must possess the appropriate resources to reduce or minimize the health safety related issues.
  • The business entity must have the appropriate system for getting the information and checking the information regarding risk, hazard and responding to it appropriately to ensure safety.

It further provides that the person operating business implements the processes to comply with the duty and obligation while conducting the business or undertaking under this Act. The provisions, the resources, and processes for compliance are discussed below:

The functions of a person doing business under the act may include inform about the incidents to the appropriate authority, explain the problem with the workers, ensures compliance with notifications under the Act.

It initiates training and instructions to the workers regarding health and safety and also ensures that the safety representatives receive proper training to spread awareness among the employees (Schulte et al. 2014).

Duties of Worker

The worker must take the reasonable precaution of his or her health and safety.It asserts that his or her act does not exert the negative impact on other workers working on the premises.In establishes compliance, so long as the operator can perform the duty the employee will abide by all the reasonable instructions provided by the person running the business.Co-operation with any consistent policy and procedure from the employee conducting the business and ensure health or safety at a workplace (Xiang et al. 2014). 

Duties of the other persons at the workplace

  • Other individuals should take reasonable care to ensure health and safety at the workplace.
  • The employee should take care of the things that his or her acts or non-fulfillment will not affect the health or safety issue of other persons.
  • It also ensures compliance with all the instructions and amendments of laws by all the employees (Chen and Zorigt 2013).

Consultation, representation, and participation

Each person in the duty must consult, cooperate and co-ordinates activities with all other staff in the workplace who have duty regarding the same matter under this Act. For an individual, the penalty is $20000 and for the corporate body, it is $ 100000. 

 

Consultation with workers

The person operating the business should consult with employees regarding the division and the regulation who would be carrying out the task and are affected by the things concerning with workplace health or safety. The minimum penalty is $ 20000 for an individual and body corporate; it is $100000. The person who is running the business or undertaking should implement the consultation according to the procedures when the workers agree the methods of consultation. Furthermore, the procedures must be in accordance with section 48 (Tombs and Whyte 2013).

Nature of consultation

According to Consultation

1)the relevant information should be shared with the workers

2) The workers will be given the reasonable opportunity

a)to express their views and raise their concern related to issues regarding health and safety.

b)they should contribute to the decision making process and their views should be taken into consideration in respect of the matter.

c) The workers are informed about the outcome of the consultation in a periodic manner.

d) If there is a third party the discussion should involve that representatives of third party in resolving the health and safety issues (Dollard and Neser 2013).

The situation, which facilitates consultation

a)when the appropriate authority identifies the hazards and risks that are affecting worker's safety and security while carrying out the duties.

b)when the management takes the decision to eliminate increasing risks from a workplace.

c)when making decisions concerning the adequacy of facilities for the wellbeing of the workers.

d)when proposing the changes that are related to health to the safety of the workers.

e)when making decisions about the process for

f)resolving the health and safety issues

g)The management should monitor the health and safety issue and suggest measures for improvement of health and safety while conducting or operating the business.

h)providing training to the workers to face the challenges related to health and safety (Singh et al. 2013).

The workplace hazard can be identified by

  • inspection at workplace
  • reporting the incident
  • discussing the matter with employees
  • Analyzing the feedback from employees.
  • Records of injuries

There are number of issues are related to the risk to safety

The equipment or chemicals purchased to run the operation or the mental stress while executing the duty and the work environment can create risk at workplace.

The role of HR in the implementation of the OHS

The new legislation, which is effective from 1st January 2012, has brought new changes in the workplace. The program is aimed to raise awareness for small and medium sized businesses and has provided study materials to the enterprises to follow the legislation under the laws. It has replaced the term occupational health and safety with work health and security. The employer who is operating the business to carry out the work. All the working will come under the legislation to ensure compliance. It has introduced the safety representatives to speak on behalf of the employees. 

 

Reference List

Australia, S.W., 2012. Work-related traumatic injury fatalities, Australia 2009-10. Australian Government-Safe Work Australia.

Badland, H., Whitzman, C., Lowe, M., Davern, M., Aye, L., Butterworth, I., Hes, D. and Giles-Corti, B., 2014. Urban liveability: emerging lessons from Australia for exploring the potential for indicators to measure the social determinants of health. Social Science & Medicine, 111, pp.64-73.

Bahn, S. and Kitching, J., 2013. Regulating small firm safety via the supply chain: implications of the Australian Work Health and Safety Act.

Bradbury‐Jones, C., Rattray, J., Jones, M. and MacGillivray, S., 2013. Promoting the health, safety and welfare of adults with learning disabilities in acute care settings: a structured literature review. Journal of clinical nursing,22(11-12), pp.1497-1509.

Cashmore, A.W., Indig, D., Hampton, S.E., Hegney, D.G. and Jalaludin, B.B., 2012. Workplace violence in a large correctional health service in New South Wales, Australia: a retrospective review of incident management records. BMC health services research, 12(1), p.1.

Chen, J.K. and Zorigt, D., 2013. Managing occupational health and safety in the mining industry. Journal of Business Research, 66(11), pp.2321-2331.

Dollard, M.F. and Neser, D.Y., 2013. Worker health is good for the economy: Union density and psychosocial safety climate as determinants of country differences in worker health and productivity in 31 European countries.Social Science & Medicine, 92, pp.114-123.

Idris, M.A., Dollard, M.F., Coward, J. and Dormann, C., 2012. Psychosocial safety climate: Conceptual distinctiveness and effect on job demands and worker psychological health. Safety Science, 50(1), pp.19-28.

Schulte, P.A., Geraci, C.L., Murashov, V., Kuempel, E.D., Zumwalde, R.D., Castranova, V., Hoover, M.D., Hodson, L. and Martinez, K.F., 2014. Occupational safety and health criteria for responsible development of nanotechnology. Journal of Nanoparticle Research, 16(1), pp.1-17.

Singh, S., Hanna, E.G. and Kjellstrom, T., 2013. Working in Australia's heat: health promotion concerns for health and productivity. Health promotion international, p.dat027.

Tombs, S. and Whyte, D., 2013. The myths and realities of deterrence in workplace safety regulation. British journal of criminology, p.azt024.

Xiang, J., Bi, P., Pisaniello, D., Hansen, A. and Sullivan, T., 2014. Association between high temperature and work-related injuries in Adelaide, South Australia, 2001–2010. Occupational and environmental medicine,71(4), pp.246-252.

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