Tag Archives: OHS Management System

Assessing Your COVID-19 Response

OHS Consultant, OHS Consultant Melbourne, OHS, COVID-19, Coronavirus

Under the Australian OHS Acts, employers are required to take all reasonably practicable steps to protect the health and safety at work of their employees.

Employers must consult with their employees when assessing a risk to the health and safety of employees at any workplace under the employer’s control.

Consultation is also required in the selection and application of control measures. In assessing the risks posed by a pandemic, employers should consult widely using existing workplace arrangements ranging from committee or workgroup meetings down to tool box talks or daily pre-starts.

Employees also have duties under the OHS Acts. Employees must co-operate with their employer in implementing risk control measures. They should take practical steps to ensure they don’t do anything that creates or increases a risk to the health and safety of themselves or others.

In a pandemic situation it is reasonable to expect that these obligations placed on the employee and employer will include complying with public health advice such as the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Department of Health & Human Services website – https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus and any emergency measures such as the stage 3 restrictions introduced in Victoria (7th April until 11th May at the time of writing)

As part of planning and preparedness, risk management should be applied to pandemic health and safety risks. This involves identifying and assessing the likely risks at the workplace and those risks associated with the way work is performed. Risk control measures to eliminate or minimise risks need to be determined. Risk management should be done in consultation with employees and call on expert advice when needed.

What new have found during this crisis is that employers are finding the task of adequately identifying and addressing all workplace risks with practicable control measures a daunting task.

When we consider the literal overnight changes to the way we live our lives, the negative mental health effects that come with the mandatory social distancing and stay at home orders the government is currently enforcing it is easy to see why employers may struggle to comprehensively manage the risk control of the Coronavirus outbreak at their workplaces.

Through the provision of support services such as COVID-19 response audits we may be able to provide some relief and assistance to employers and provide assurance that they are doing the right things and complying with the aforementioned legal obligations. We may also be able to identify any areas of concern in an employer’s COVID-19 risk management and provide direct recommendations on how to adequately address these areas of concern.

Posted By: Cathal Uniacke – cathal@custodiansafety.com.au

ISO 45001 OHS Management Standard – Whats New & Why Change?

45001, OHS, OHS Management, Management Standards

After the much anticipated wait the ISO 45001 Occupational Health & Safety management standard has been published by the International Standards Organisation and adopted by the Australian and New Zealand standard body.

We are seeing businesses across a range of industries here in Australia start to transition there OHS management systems to the ISO 45001 management system standard with a view to the eventual migration from AS/NZS 4801 to ISO 45001.

Whats New?

There are a lot of new changes to how a company manages there OHS in accordance with the ISO 45001 standard but for practicality I have detailed some of the key new aspects below.

  • Consistent language and increased compatibility with other standards
  • Defining context of the organisation including understanding & needs & expectations of relevant parties
  • Leadership & Commitment
  • Planning – Identification of Risks & Opportunities associated with OHS
  • Management of Change
  • Outsourcing & Contractors
  • Continual Improvement
  • Communication – Now requires worker consultation and worker participation in the decision making process

Why Change?

In comparison to the AS/NZS 4801 management standard the ISO 45001 OHS management standard is a OHS management system standard rather than and OHS work processes standard and integrates seamlessly with the new ISO 9001 Quality standard and ISO 14001 Environmental standard.

The ease of which ISO 45001 can be integrated into any existing certified Quality or Environmental management systems and associated costs savings in both internal staff and consultant time add a lot of weight to the pro ISO 4500 migration argument. When you also consider the fact that AS/NZS 4801 is likely to be discontinued in the future the argument for migrating to ISO 45001 is further supported.

In addition to the above reasons for change unlike AS/NZS 4801 which is only recognised in Australia and New Zealand the ISO 45001 standard is internationally recognised which is ideal for Australian businesses trading internationally.

Posted by: Cathal Uniacke – cathal@custodiansafety.com.au

What Nobody Told Me – OHS Do’s

OHS Consultant, OHS Melbourne

Conduct Company Inductions

The OHS/WHS Acts of all states require that employees are provided with information with regards to the job they will be undertaken. The best time to do an induction is the time directly before the employee start work. It’s also a good idea to do other pre-start tasks like tax and payment details collection and the issue of any specialised work equipment.

Prepare & Communicate Written Work Instructions

The OHS/WHS Acts of all states require that employees are provided with instruction with regards to the job they will be undertaking. When taking into account the what both the employer and the employee needs to get out of work instructions the most appropriate way to manage the process is through the preparation and communication of written work instructions.

Have an Accident Reporting System

Employers have a duty to record & report accidents under workplace laws or alternatively face legal action. Employers also have a duty under agreements with insurers to record and report accidents or face there insurance cover being declared null and void by the insurer. It is important that an accident reporting system is in place and properly implemented.

Have a Risk Management Procedure

Employers are required under the OHS/WHS to provide employees with a safe place of work. Arguments between builders, contractors and employees occur every day in Australian workplaces as to what exactly a safe place of work is? In order to manage the process of managing risks and to help provide a safe place of work a risk management procedure should be in place and properly implemented.

Have a Competent Person Regularly Inspect Work Areas

Workplaces change. No matter how well managed work processes are or how well the procedures are implemented the fact is materials are brought out/in, rearranged or redeveloped. Having a competent person available to regularly inspect the work area for risks can greatly reduce the likelihood and consequences of an accident/incident occurring.

Posted by: Cathal Uniacke – cathal@custodiansafety.com.au

How OHS Consultants Help Companies Manage OHS

  • All employers have a responsibility to ensure their employees have safe access to work, safe equipment to work with and a safe system of work.
  • Where a builder or contractor is also a person in control of a business and undertaking (PCBU) they may have the responsibility for the safety of other company employees
  • While these issues are placed at the forefront of importance at contract commencement they often become less of a priority as the project progresses, schedules get busy and resources are stretched.
  • having a competent person available to regularly check and inspect that safe access to work, safe equipment to work with and a safe system of work are in place becomes even more of a challenge.
  • Custodian Safety Services have the technical capability to regularly check and inspect that safe access to work, safe equipment to work with and a safe system of work are in place.
  • Our clients have found the reports beneficial and value a ‘fresh pair of eyes’ and have found that they can manage OHS across a larger area.
  • We will continue to pitch and develop this service offering in the future based on feedback received and our own experiences.

How OHS Consultants Help Companies with High Risk Tasks

  • Being compliant is hard work
  • Many business owners & managers are forced to make decisions on what areas of the business receive resources and what don’t.
  • Many companies acknowledge the importance of OHS but often don’t have the skills, expertise or time to manage the area sufficiently.
  • Custodian Safety Services has the technical capabilities to assist with the management of OHS within organisations.
  • Custodian Safety Services provide free company OHS assessments (Gap Analysis), absorb the cost of 1 hour no obligation consultations, have quick job turnaround and guarantee all of our work meets current legislation and standards.
  • Custodian Safety Services have assisted companies in multiple industries to date that include commercial construction, rail, telecommunications & waste & recycling.
  • Many companies have asked us to continue to develop there OHS systems which is always a good indicator of how successful our work has been.
  • We will endeavour to develop the services offered and fee structure based on experiences and we will continue presents the services to companies who we feel would benefit most.

4 Reasons Businesses Invest in OHS

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Ethics

It may come as warm and welcome information that in the current Australian business world of high insurance premiums, active and aggressive workplace safety watchdogs and militant and uncompromising worker unions the number one reason our OHS consulting services have been utilised by businesses is the business owners and managers desire to keep their employees and persons under their control safe when at work and ensure they return home to their families and loved ones in the same condition as they left.

Pro-Active Workplace Safety Enforcement Body

Australia and in particular Victoria where we conduct majority of our consulting is home to a very proactive workplace safety enforcement body, Worksafe. In times of high employment, job creation and job growth an efficient and effective workplace watchdog is paramount.

However, as an employer the outcomes of OHS related enforcement notices, fines and court action against businesses can be extremely detrimental to ongoing business, growth and development and can leave a lasting black mark against any business.

Injury Claims Resulting in Increased Insurance Premiums

In business protecting the downside is of key importance. Insurance cover against potential financial losses due to property damage, theft, legal proceedings or worker injury claims is essential.

However lodging insurance claims and in particular worker injury claims which are known to spiral upwards in costs and continue for long periods can have knock on effects with regards to future insurance premiums paid by businesses.

This is due to algorithms being created by the insurance companies for each claim and tagged to the claimant (business). As a business grows so too do the algorithms/s meaning the businesses insurance premium also increases.

Threat of Industrial Action by Unions

Australia and in particular Victoria where we conduct most of our consulting is home to some of the most militant and uncompromising unions. Unions can at times when they are not being heard look to pick holes and find gaps in businesses operating procedures and service equipment with regards to OHS and use these instances of ‘non-compliance’ as political leverage in an attempt to be better heard.

It is important that businesses commence works and maintain works while keeping up with all OHS procedures during operations and maintaining all plant and equipment required during services so to reduce the likelihood of unions focusing on OHS related holes or gaps in their business operations and causing what are sometimes unnecessary delays.

For smart businesses it’s not about the costs of effective OHS management systems and procedures, it’s about the costs of not having effective OHS management and procedures.

 Posted By: Cathal Uniacke – cathal@custodiansafety.com.au