Occupational Health and Safety Training – WHS Needs and Priorities (Legal Requirements)

legionella legal requirements occupational health and safety training – whs needs and priorities (legal requirements)The second criteria that you need to satisfy in order for you to complete the first element of the competency unit and to get your Certificate IV in Occupational Health and Safety is to determine WHS needs and priorities in consultation with relevant managers and other workplace stakeholders and key personnel.

Management decision-making requires determining priorities for the allocation of limited resources. This prioritisation should be based on good information and be determined in consultation with stakeholder and key personnel. This section examines the factors to be taken into account when determining WHS priorities including legal requirements, nature of hazards and risks, and the status and effectiveness of current WHS activities and the people and roles that should be consulted.

WHS Needs and Priorities

The introduction to this element discussed the role of values, vision and mission of an organisation in strategic planning. They give a general picture of where the organisation wants to be, but planning requires setting more specific goals and objectives. This requires prioritisation.

Prioritising WHS for planning must consider:

  • legal requirements;
  • nature of hazards and risks; and
  • status and effectiveness of current WHS activities.

Legal requirements

Legal requirements in relation to WHS are set out in the WHS legislation including the Act and associated regulations. The learning guide for BSBOHS408 Assist with compliance with OHS and other relevant law discusses these requirements. In summary the organisation must plan to, so far as reasonably practicable, ensure the health and safety workers and others who may be affected by the work with particular attention to:

  • a work environment that is without risks to health or safety;
  • provision and maintenance of safe plant and structures;
  • provision and maintenance of safe systems of work;
  • safe handling, storage and transport of plant, structures and substances;
  • provision of adequate facilities for the welfare of workers at work;
  • provision of information, training, instruction or supervision that is necessary to protect all persons from risk to their health and safety;
  • monitoring of workers health and conditions for purposes of preventing illness or injury; and
  • development and implementation of procedures and processes for consultation, representation and participation with those who hold duties under WHS legislation and also with workers. (“Model Work Health and Safety Bill,” 2009)

Specific requirements under WHS regulations should also be considered as part of the planning process.

The standard set for compliance with these legal requirements is “so far as is reasonably practicable”. The Model Work Health and Safety Bill (“Model Work Health and Safety Bill,” 2009, s17) defines reasonably practicable as:

  • that which is able to be done in relation to ensuring health or safety, taking into account and weighing up all relevant matters including:
  • the likelihood of the hazard or risk concerned occurring; and
  • the degree of harm that might result from the hazard or risk; and what the person concerned knows, or should reasonably to know about the hazard or the risk; and ways of eliminating or minimising the risk; and
  • the availability and suitability of ways to eliminate or minimise the risk; and
  • after assessing the extent of the risk and the available ways of eliminating or minimising the risk, the cost associated with available ways of eliminating or minimising the risk. (“Model Work Health and Safety Bill,” 2009)

Codes of practice and guidance material published by the WHS regulators also provide information on the standard required to achieve compliance.

Thus, the first goal for the WHS component of a strategic plan should be to ensure, as a minimum, compliance with WHS legislative requirements.

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Published by: LMIT

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