Asbestos

Asbestos becomes a health risk when its fibres are released into the air and breathed in. Breathing in asbestos fibres can cause asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.

Bullying

Workplace bullying is repeated and unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or group of workers that creates a risk to health and safety.

Carcinogens

A carcinogen is a substance or mixture that causes cancer.

Classifying chemicals

Classification is the systematic identification of a chemical’s hazards.

Confined spaces

A confined space is determined by hazards associated with a set of special circumstances; not just because the space work is performed in is small.

Cranes

Operating cranes is complex and dangerous and workers must have the necessary skills and capabilities to do it safely.

Crystalline silica and silicosis

Crystalline silica is found in sand, stone, concrete and mortar. When workers cut, crush, drill, polish, saw or grind products containing silica, dust particles are generated that are small enough to lodge deep in the lungs and cause illness or disease including silicosis.

Demolition

Demolition work is when you knock down or dismantle a structure or part of a structure that is load-bearing or somehow related to the physical integrity of the structure.

Drugs and alcohol

Alcohol and drugs, including medicines prescribed by a doctor or available from a pharmacy, can affect a person’s ability to work safely.

Electrical safety

Electricity is one of the most important power sources which we all use daily but if not appropriately managed can cause serious injury and death.

Emergency plans and procedures

A written set of instructions that outlines what workers and others at the workplace should do in an emergency.

Excavation

Excavation work generally involves removing soil or rock from a site to form an open face, hole or cavity using tools, machinery or explosives.

Fatigue

Every business and industry is affected to some degree by fatigue. However, some types of work and some sectors have an inherently higher risk of fatigue, particularly when shift work is part of their business model.

First aid

First aid requirements vary from one workplace to another, so you need to consider all your potential hazards when deciding what first aid arrangements you need to have in place.

Good work design

Good work design optimises work health and safety, human performance, job satisfaction as well as business success.

Hazardous chemicals

Hazardous chemicals are substances, mixtures and articles that can pose a significant risk to health and safety if not managed correctly. Hazardous chemicals may have health hazards, physical hazards or both.

Identify, assess and control hazards

Effective systematic management of risks results in improved worker health and safety, as well as productivity.

Incident reporting

The model WHS Act requires you notify your regulator of certain types of workplace incidents.

Labelling chemicals

Labels on hazardous chemicals identify hazards and give instructions on how to use them safely.

Labour hire

Labour hire often involves a host organisation using workers from a labour hire agency, for a short period of time. These arrangements are sometimes referred to as “on-hire” or “agency” arrangements.

Lead

Lead is a heavy metal that can be found in workplaces that manufacture and dismantle batteries and use ammunition, and those that weld, solder and remove old paint. Workers in mining and foundries may also encounter lead. Exposure to lead can cause serious health effects including cancer, cardiovascular disease and damage to worker’s reproductive and nervous systems.

Leadership and culture

Leadership can help drive better work health and safety performance and business productivity

Licences

Certain types of work can be hazardous and require specific skills, capabilities and licences. Under the model Work Health and Safety Regulations, licences are required for; asbestos removal and clearance, high risk work, demolition work and major hazard facilities.

Lifting, pushing and pulling (manual handling)

If the risks associated with hazardous manual tasks are not eliminated or minimised they can cause significant and even irreversible injuries or disorders.

Mental health

Work-related mental disorders (also known as psychological injuries) have become a major concern in Australian workplaces.

Migrant workers

In Australia, the law says that your employer (your boss) must do all they can to make sure your job does not hurt you or make you sick. This law is called work health and safety (WHS) or occupational health and safety (OHS).

Noise

The model WHS Regulations, define the exposure standard for long term exposure to noise as the amount of sound energy, that is equivalent to a steady noise level of 85 decibels over an 8 hour shift. Whether this is exceeded depends on the level of noise involved and how long workers are exposed to it.

Officer duty

The role and influence you have in a business determines if you are an ‘officer’ under work health and safety laws. This is different for each person and each business.

Personal protective equipment

Safe Work Australia does not provide legal advice on the operation of the model Work Health and Safety laws. You must contact your work health and safety authority in your state or territory. PPE is one of the least effective safety control measures: you should not rely on PPE as a hazard control.

Plant design, supply and registration

Plant includes any machinery, equipment, appliance, container, implement and tool, and includes any component or anything fitted or connected to those things.

Quad bikes

Every year, quad bikes are a major cause of death and serious injury in rural workplaces, with many incidents associated with rollovers.

Registers, manifests and placards

A hazardous chemicals register is a list of hazardous chemicals at a workplace. A manifest is a written summary of hazardous chemicals with physical and acute toxicity hazards that are used, handled or stored at a workplace. Placards provide warnings about the stored hazardous chemicals and contain specific information for emergency service personnel.

Remote and isolated work

Working alone or remotely increases the risk of any job. Exposure to violence and poor access to emergency assistance are the main hazards that increase the risk of remote or isolated work.

Research and evaluation

Our research work contributes to the robust evidence base needed to inform national WHS policy, programs and practice, as detailed in the Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012–2022.

Safe design

Safe design is about integrating hazard identification and risk assessment methods early in the design process to eliminate or minimise risks of injury throughout the life of the product (including buildings, structures, equipment and vehicles) being designed.

Safety data sheets

A safety data sheet provides critical information about a hazardous chemical.

Scaffolding

A scaffold is a temporary structure erected to support access or working platforms. Scaffolds are commonly used in construction work so workers have a safe, stable work platform when work can’t be done at ground level or on a finished floor.

Sitting and standing

Prolonged sitting is associated with significant negative health outcomes, and is increasingly being recognised in the community as an important issue that needs attention.

Slips, trips and falls

Slips and trips result in thousands of injuries every year. The most common are musculoskeletal injuries, cuts, bruises, fractures and dislocations, but more serious injuries also happen.

Tunnelling

Tunnelling work includes constructing a tunnel and supporting systems and associated temporary work.

Volunteers

Everyone has a right to be safe at work, including volunteers. Volunteers play a vital role in communities across Australia and make significant contributions by carrying out unpaid work for a variety of organisations every day.

Work-related Violence

Work-related violence can be any incident where a person is abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances relating to their work.

Working at heights

Working at heights is a high risk activity and a major cause of death and serious injury.

Working in heat

Working in heat can be hazardous and can cause harm to workers.

Working outside

We developed this page in partnership with the Bureau of Meteorology.

Workplace exposure standards for chemicals

Exposure to substances or mixtures in the workplace can pose significant health risks to workers.

Young workers

Young workers (aged from 15-24 years) make up a substantial proportion of the workforce. They can bring energy, new ideas and a fresh perspective.

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