Summary of the Health and Safety in the Workplace Act 2015
The principal object of the Health and Safety at work Act 2015 is to take all practicable steps to prevent harm to employees at work. To do this it imposes duties on, and promotes excellent health and safety management by, employers. It also provides for the making of regulations and codes of practice.
Management of risks
(1)A duty imposed on a person by or under this Act requires the person—
(a)to eliminate risks to health and safety, so far as is reasonably practicable; and
(b)if it is not reasonably practicable to eliminate risks to health and safety, to minimise those risks so far as is reasonably practicable.
(2)A person must comply with subsection (1) to the extent to which the person has, or would reasonably be expected to have, the ability to influence and control the matter to which the risks relate.
Primary duty of care
(1)A PCBU must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of—(a)workers who work for the PCBU, while the workers are at work in the business or undertaking; and
(b)workers whose activities in carrying out work are influenced or directed by the PCBU, while the workers are carrying out the work.
(2)A PCBU must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the health and safety of other persons is not put at risk from work carried out as part of the conduct of the business or undertaking.
(3)Without limiting subsection (1) or (2), a PCBU must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable,—
(a)the provision and maintenance of a work environment that is without risks to health and safety; and
(b)the provision and maintenance of safe plant and structures; and
(c)the provision and maintenance of safe systems of work; and
(d)the safe use, handling, and storage of plant, substances, and structures; and
(e)the provision of adequate facilities for the welfare at work of workers in carrying out work for the business or undertaking, including ensuring access to those facilities; and
(f)the provision of any information, training, instruction, or supervision that is necessary to protect all persons from risks to their health and safety arising from work carried out as part of the conduct of the business or undertaking; and
(g)that the health of workers and the conditions at the workplace are monitored for the purpose of preventing injury or illness of workers arising from the conduct of the business or undertaking.
(4)Subsection (5) applies if—
(a)a worker occupies accommodation that is owned by, or under the management or control of, a PCBU; and
(b)the occupancy is necessary for the purposes of the worker’s employment or engagement by the PCBU because other accommodation is not reasonably available.
(5)The PCBU must, so far as is reasonably practicable, maintain the accommodation so that the worker is not exposed to risks to his or her health and safety arising from the accommodation.
(6)A PCBU who is a self-employed person must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, his or her own health and safety while at work.
Compare: Model Work Health and Safety Act (Aust) s 19
Employers to Involve Employees In The Development Of Safety And Health Procedures
Employers need to ensure that all employees have the opportunity to be fully involved in the development of procedures for the purpose of identifying hazards and dealing significant hazards or dealing with or reacting to emergencies and imminent dangers (section 14).
Training of Employees and the Safety of Others
The employer must ensure employees are either sufficiently experienced to do their work safely or supervised by an experienced person. In addition, the employee must be adequately trained in the safe use of equipment in the place of work, including protective clothing and equipment (section 13).
An employer is also responsible for health and safety of people who are not employees. An employer must take all practicable steps to ensure that an employee does not harm any other person
while at work, including members of the public or visitors to the place of work (section 15).
If you are an employee, the Act gives you responsibility for your own safety and health while at work. You must also ensure that your actions do not harm anyone else.
Self-Employed People's Duties
Every self-employed person shall take all practicable steps to ensure that no action or inaction of the self-employed person while at work harms the self-employed person or any other person.
Accidents and Serious Harm: Records and Notification
The Act defines "accident" as an event that:· Causes any person to be harmed; or· In different circumstances, might have caused any person to be harmed.This means that "accident" includes both near-misses and accidents that result in harm to a person or might have caused any person to be harmed. Every employer is required to maintain a register of accidents and serious harm; and record particulars relating to:
Every accident that harmed (or, as the case may be, might have harmed
Any employee at work; or
Any person in a place of work controlled by the employer; and
Every occurrence of serious harm to an employee at work, or as a result of any hazard to which the employee was exposed while at work, in the employment of the employer.
Where there occurs any serious harm or accident an employer must:
As soon as possible after its occurrence, notify the Department of Labour of the occurrence; and
Within 7 days of the occurrence, give the Department of Labour written notice, in the prescribed form, of the circumstances of the occurrence.
The notification to the Department of Labour applies to:
Every occurrence of serious harm to an employee at work, or the occurrence of serious harm as a result of any hazard to which the employee was exposed while at work, in the employment of the employer; and Accidents of a kind or description required by regulations.