We all have a responsibility and duty for building a safe workplace around us, so we can get home safe to our families. So, what are the important things you need to know about work health and safety?
The latest data
Explore statistics and research into work health and safety in Australia – there is something relevant to your line of work.
Working safely in your language
We've published a collection of information sheets in 20 languages that provide clear, simple information about working safely in Australia. They explain that employers must look after the health and safety of workers and that a worker must look after their own health and safety, and include a checklist for new workers to use when starting a new job and a list of government work health and safety and workers’ compensation contacts.
Frequently asked questions
While the Commonwealth, states and territories are responsible for regulating and enforcing the WHS laws in their jurisdictions, we all have a responsibility and duty for building a safe workplace around us.
Who has a duty?
Every person in a workplace has a duty in relation to the safety of that workplace, including:
- The PCBU – must ensure the health and safety of its workers and that other persons are not put at risk from its work, so far as is reasonably practicable.
- Officers – have a duty to exercise due diligence to ensure that the PCBU complies with its duties.
- Workers – have a duty to take reasonable care for their own safety and ensure their actions do not adversely affect the health and safety of others. They must comply with reasonable instructions and cooperate with reasonable policies and procedures relating to health and safety, so far as they are reasonably able.
- Other persons at the workplace – have a duty to take reasonable care for their own safety and ensure their actions do not adversely affect the health and safety of others. They must comply with reasonable instructions relating to safety, so far as they are reasonably able.
What is regulation?
What are the costs of poor safety?
Poor WHS can cause injury, illness and even death. While the emotional cost cannot be underestimated, the financial cost to the whole Australian community is staggering – in 2012–13 work related injury and illness cost $61.8 billion.
This figure includes both direct and indirect costs: workers’ compensation premiums, compensation payments to injured or incapacitated workers, loss of productivity, current and future earnings, potential output, and the cost of providing social welfare programs for injured or incapacitated workers.
What is good work design?
‘Good work’ is healthy and safe work, where the hazards and risks are eliminated or minimised. Good work is also where the work design optimises human performance, job satisfaction and productivity.
Good work contains positive work elements that can:
- protect workers from harm to their health, safety and welfare
- improve worker health and wellbeing
- improve business success through higher worker productivity.
Designing good work starts at the conceptual and planning phases. At this early stage, there is greatest chance of finding ways to design out hazards, incorporate effective risk control measures and design in efficiencies.
Effective design of good work considers:
- the work
- the physical working environment, and
- the workers.
What is the hierarchy of control?
The hierarchy of control can help you identify ways to control risks to health and safety by ranking them.
The model WHS laws require duty holders to work through this hierarchy when managing health and safety risks.
What is a hazard?
A ‘hazard’ is a situation or thing that has the potential to harm a person. Hazards at work may include noisy machinery, a moving forklift, chemicals, electricity, working at height, a repetitive job, and bullying and violence.
What is a risk?
A ‘risk’ is the possibility that harm – death, injury or illness – might occur when exposed to a hazard.