What is the purpose of Work Health and Safety (WHS)?
The purpose of having effective WHS policies and procedures within an organisation is to provide all staff, visitors and contractors with a quality standard of health and safety protection within the workplace.
The WHS Act provides a framework to protect the health, safety and welfare of all workers in the workplace, and that of other people who might be affected by the work being undertaken, such as visitors, contractors, and the nearby public.
As per www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au “The WHS Act aims to:
- protect the health and safety of workers and other people by eliminating or minimising risks arising from work or workplaces
- ensure fair and effective representation, consultation and cooperation to address and resolve health and safety issues in the workplace
- encourage unions and employer organisations to take a constructive role in improving work health and safety practices
- assisting businesses and workers to achieve a healthier and safer working environment
- promote information, education and training on work health and safety
- provide effective compliance and enforcement measures, and
- deliver continuous improvement and progressively higher standards of work health and safety.
In furthering these aims regard must be had to the principle that workers and other persons should be given the highest level of protection against harm to their health, safety and welfare from hazards and risks arising from work as is reasonably practicable.
For these purposes ‘health’ includes psychological health as well as physical health.”
Who is responsible for WHS in your organisation?
We are all responsible for our own safety and the safety of others in the workplace. Though the PCBU (Persons Conducting Business or Undertaking) has the primary duty of care.
The WHS Act requires all organisations to ensure, so far as practical, the health and safety of workers engaged, or caused to be engaged, and workers whose activities in carrying out tasks are influenced or directed by, while workers are within the workplace.
The aim is to ensure health and safety, by eliminating risks to health and safety. If this is not possible due to the line of work, risks must be minimised so far as is reasonably possible.
The PCBU owe a similar duty of care to other people who may be at risk from work carried out by the business or undertaking such as members of the general public and visitors to the workplace.
While at work, workers must take reasonable care for their own health and safety and that of others who may be affected by their actions or omissions. They need to comply as reasonably able, with any instruction given by management to allow the organisation to comply with WHS laws, and cooperate with any reasonable policy or procedure relating to health or safety at the workplace that has been notified to workers.
Similar duties apply to other persons at a workplace. Any person at a workplace, including customers and visitors, must take care of their own health and safety and that of others who may be affected by their actions or omissions. They must also comply with any valid instruction that is given by the PCBU to comply with WHS laws.
Asset management and WHS
How does asset management fit in with WHS? It plays a big part. If you are within an asset intensive organisation that includes any plant such as machinery, equipment, vehicles, appliance, container, implement or tool, and any component or anything fitted or connected to these things – These assets require competent asset management so that they stay in good working order. Assets that are not in good working order have the potential to cause harm within the workplace, therefore increasing risks of hazard.
Asset intensive organisations don’t just involve plant assets. What about structure assets – anything that is constructed, whether fixed or moveable, temporary or permanent and includes buildings, masts, towers, framework, pipelines, transport infrastructure and underground works (shafts or tunnels). This also includes any component or part of a structure. These are all assets that need to be maintained on a regular, and best off, scheduled basis, not only to increase their productivity and lifecycle, but also to protect the health and safety of workers, contractors, visitors and the general public in the best way possible.
How can Mainpac become a part of your WHS systems?
Some asset intensive organisations work in “reactive maintenance” mode. This could be due to various reasons such as:
- Not having an efficient asset management system in place
- Not knowing what, or where to look for an appropriate asset management system for their organisation
- Concerns about the cost of scheduling regular maintenance rather than “just fixing things” when needed
Your businesses’ asset management system plays a major role in supporting proactive maintenance schedules and increasing the reliability of your assets. Reliable, maintained assets are safe assets. While safe assets contribute to the safety of workers, visitors, and of the public. The first step is to establish a sound effective preventative maintenance or predictive maintenance schedule for your assets. Modules such as Mainpac’s Asset Intelligence contains features such as condition monitoring technologies. With proactive predictive maintenance and early identification of any issues staff can prevent unplanned breakdowns, minimise possible risks for hazards, and any further damages that could occur. By planning your needed repairs and maintenance on assets the organisation will save costs on less downtime and increased productivity, but most of all a safe workplace for all.