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The Model Work Health And Safety (WHS) Act Add in library

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What is the Model Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act?


Work Health Safety Act - Key Objectives

The Model Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act incorporates the norms and policies in context to the guidelines pertaining to work and health related issues subjected to the confinements of the Australian territory. The key intent of the WHS act related to the implementation of guidelines and protocols to ensure health and wellness of the people engaged in the execution of various assignments at their work place. The methodology devised following the guidelines of WHS act focuses on the potential risks related to various job assignments on the health and safety of individuals. The proactive strategic approaches formulated in accordance with the norms of the WHS act to mitigate the risks pertaining to various disease processes and traumatic conditions in context to the nature of jobs prevalent across the Australian regions.

The key objects of the act related to analyzing the nature of various duties in terms of their standards, execution, accountability and rationale with respect to the operational systems and work environment (Sherriff & Tooma, 2010:p.15-16). The provisions of the WHS act in Australia enacted to safeguard the health and security of workers in terms of ensuring implantation of secured systems and structures for the employees at workplace (Dollard et al, 2014:p.39). The guidelines of the act further emphasize the maintenance of healthcare facilities within the work premises to ascertain strategic management of health challenges and accidents faced by the employees of various companies and organizations.

The WHS act indeed, motivates the employers to enforce democracy at the workplace with the provision of consultation services to the workers in context to their health, wellness and safety considerations (Ruschena et al, 2015:p.52). Indeed, the consultation services at workplace facilitate the back and forth dissemination of information between the employees and healthcare units to ascertain their physical and psychosomatic health and stability during the working hours. The WHS act further emphasizes the need for conducting regular healthcare campaigns and education programs to train the workers in context to their safety requirements and hygiene within the organizational confinements. The act in fact, establishes goals for acquiring health and safety while implementing higher standards of care and measures to eliminate the potential challenges and threats in context to the work practices. Hor (2012) states the WHS statue instructing the employers to maintain risk free and protective environment for their workers within the operational premises. However, the breach of these norms by employers holds them accountable under the jurisdiction of the WHS act.

Obligations of Employers & Employees

The WHS act aims at acquiring best work health and safety practices by the Australian employers (Kearns, 2014:p.89). The objectives and duties of the employers following the norms of the act related to effective implementation of enforcements and compliance measures to ascertain consistent improvement in healthcare and safety standards of the workers. Wagen (2010:p.255) elaborates the provision of workers compensation insurance services to all employees under the provision of the WHS act. The employers are further responsible to implement secured operational systems within the work premises to ensure safety and wellness of all employees associated with the organization. The norms of the WHS act encourage the employers in proactively engaging themselves in the risk management processes within their operational confinements. However, the execution of these processes warrants strategic evaluation of the health risks and predisposing factors in context to the events of fire and other accidents, by the employers.

The identification of potential hazards and health risks including injurious substances, heavy weight products, electrical appliances and liquefied petroleum gas cylinders warrants their effective management by the employers to prevent the life threatening outcomes in context to the events of explosion and gaseous toxicity under inadvertent accidental circumstances. Furthermore, the norms of the model act direct the employers to obtain informed consent from the employees with respect to their shift schedule, and perform evaluation of the entire health risks incurred during the operational hours (Wagen & Goonetilleke, 2012:p.175).

However, the WHS act also directs the employees to remain conscious in context to the health issues encountered at the workplace (Archer et al, 2012:p.35). The employees are also obliged to ascertain that their moves or mistakes do not influence the health and wellness of their fellow colleagues. The workers also require ensuring regarding the level of competence attained following the healthcare training programs organized with the intent of proactively monitoring health and wellness of the employees within the operational premises. They must understand their accountability and duties with respect to practicing compliance and security measures to bypass predisposing factors related to the adverse outcomes from the unprecedented mishappenings and pathological conditions. The employees must also strategically participate in the health care programs organized to restore confidence among the staff for increasing their efficiency to withstand the inadvertent circumstances and challenging conditions at workplace.

The workers of the Australian organizations require thorough understanding of the protocols of WHS and possess the right to undertake calculated decisions in context to the health and security challenges under accidental circumstances. The duties of the employees as defined by the WHS act also include reporting the adverse or serious adverse events, hazards or injuries to their immediate supervisors during working hours for their timely management.      

The WHS act allows the employees to notify the person conducting a business or undertaking in context to selecting health security representatives for addressing the health and security concerns on a regular basis. These health and security representatives lead the workgroup with the intent to disseminate awareness and education regarding the health and security issues arising during the operational schedule. The business owners indeed, require consulting these health and security representatives on a regular basis to address and resolve the concerns pertaining to security and health of the potential employees (Ruschena et al, 2015a:p.36). The workers of the organizations have the liberty to participate in health care campaigns and educational seminars while configuring workgroups for unanimously escalating their concerns regarding health and security matters at workplace.


Intent of Consultation, Representation & Participation

The participation and protection protocol of the WHS act allows the formation of workgroups to facilitate the strategic execution of security and healthcare measures within the organizational premises. The provision to cease the unsafe work in accordance to the WHS act allows the health security representatives to gain access to the work premises and facilitate termination of operations only after careful monitoring of the potential security risks and life threatening hazards associated with the particular assignment at workplace (Sherriff & Tooma, 2010a:p.85).

The academic literature reveals the obligation of organizations in relation to following state and federal regulations to retain occupational safety and wellness among the employees (Härtel & Fujimoto, 2015:p.92). Indeed, the norms of the WHS act direct the stakeholders of the organizations to formulate and practice reasonable approaches to ascertain health, wellness and safety of the workers during the operational processing. The preliminary responsibility of the stakeholders relates to mitigation of risks associated with the nature of the workers job. The sources of the potential risk factors warrant thorough analysis by the stakeholders in devising proactive strategies to eliminate the probability and predisposition of workers toward the inadvertent incidences at the workplace. Furthermore, the stakeholders require ensuring the implementation of safety measures in context to avoiding accidents by operational substances at workplace. The stakeholders must emphasize the development of control strategies for challenging emergencies within the operational premises. Moreover, the stakeholders also require ascertaining the provision of training programs and educational seminars to develop skills and competence among employees warranted to tackle the untoward circumstances.

The norms of the WHS act in context to the health and safety of workers emphasize the need for periodic consultation with the employees. The consultation procedure requires effective execution with the participation of all employees at workplace. The employees are provided with recurrent opportunities to share their perspectives related to health and safety concerns, and allowed to participate in the decision making process for devising protective measures in safeguarding health and wellness of the workforce within the operational confinement. The continuous consultation and participation by the employees ensures timely identification and subsequent elimination of the risk factors challenging the safety and health of the employees. Additionally, the consultation participation assists the organization to monitor the health and wellness outcomes of the workers in a timely fashion. 

Role of Human Resources

 The human resource department owes the responsibility to evaluate and analyze the concerns of the employees in context to their occupational safety and health (OSH) issues originating at the workplace. The professionals representing the human resource department require through understanding and evaluation of the health and security accountabilities of both employer and employees within the organizational premises. The human resource professionals need to conduct training programs and undertake individualized sessions to ascertain further value addition to the educational sessions conducted for the employees with the intent to implement health, security and wellness at workplace. The human resource professionals also require efficient monitoring of the workforce to ensure the strategic implementation of health and safety policies among the employees for retaining their health, wellness and safety.

The role of the human resource professionals for the effective implementation of OHS includes, nourishing safe culture and flexible environment for enhancing psychosomatic health and wellness among the employees. The HR professionals also require implementing strategic administrative approaches to ensure timely escalation of the adverse events and mishappenings at workplace, for their effective management by the health care team.

The restoration of psychological health and wellness among the employees warrants formulating periodic hiring and appraisal programs for the potential employees by the human resource professionals. The verification of credentials and executing appropriate background checks of the employees highly warranted by the HR professionals to ascertain authenticity of the hired employees with respect to their job profiles at the workplace. The human resource professionals must also evaluate the authenticity of the health, wellness and safety policies of the company in context to the state jurisdiction and standardized norms prevalent across the globe. The accountability of the HR professionals lies in effective implementation of procedures and protocols to ascertain reduction of predisposing factors in context to the accidents and disease conditions leading the employees to life threatening morbidities and disabling conditions.

The wellness counselling rendered by the human resource professionals to the target employees assists them in retaining their occupational health and wellness, while avoiding the potential risks pertaining to accidents and diseases. The role of HR in relation to implementation of OHS and WHS at workplace related to their accountability in context to providing healthcare training to the employees while coordinating with other health professionals through various health and wellness campaigns in the organizational confinement. Moreover, the human resources professionals also assist in occupational health and safety matters by organizing periodic interaction sessions with both employer and employees to track and evaluate the debateable concerns pertaining to various health and safety risks for their earliest resolution. 

The WHS act facilitates consistent coordination with the labour hire agency (HRM) in proactively executing the obligations in context to the health and security of the associated employees. Indeed, the role of HRM includes imparting education and awareness regarding health and safety parameters among the newly hired employees prior to operational commencement. The HRM also accountable for materializing periodic safety audits, with the intent to evaluate potential risks to health and wellness of the employees at the workplace. Indeed, the HRM also undertakes the execution of support services in terms of assisting the employees under adverse circumstances pertaining to trauma or diseases within the operational confinement.



Archer, R, Borthwick, K, Travers, M & Ruschena, L 2012, WHS: A Management Guide (3rd edn.), Cengage, Australia

Dollard, M, Shimazu, A, Nordin, R, Brough, P & Tuckey, M 2014, Psychosocial Factors at Work in the Asia Pacific, Springer, NY

Härtel, C & Fujimoto, Y 2015, Human Resource Management, Pearson, Australia

Hor, J 2012, Managing Workplace Behaviour: A Best Practice Guide, CCH, Australia

Kearns, K 2014, The Big Picture (3rd edn.), Cengage, Australia

Ruschena, L, Travers, M, Borthwick, K & Archer, R 2015, WHS: A Management Guide (4th edn.), Cengage, Australia

Ruschena, L, Travers, M, Borthwick, K & Archer, R 2015a, WHS: A Management Guide (4th edn.), Cengage, Australia

Sherriff, B & Tooma, M 2010, Understanding the Model Work Health and Safety Act, CCH, Australia

Sherriff, B & Tooma, M 2010a, Understanding the Model Work Health and Safety Act, CCH, Australia

Wagen, L 2010, Event Management (4th edn.), Pearson, Australia  

Wagen, L & Goonetilleke, A 2012, Hospitality Management, Strategy and Operations (3rd edn.), Pearson, Australia

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