Duty of Care Legislation - Employer

General Duties of Employer

Section 19 of the WHS Legislation states that you must ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the health and safety of the Employees engaged by you while they are at work. Essentially, you must provide safe and healthy working environment.  This includes:

  • the provision and maintenance of a work environment that is safe and without risks to health and safety, including the entering and exiting of a workplace;
  • the provision and maintenance of safe plant, structure and systems of work that do not pose health risks;
  • ensuring the safe use, handling, storage and transport of plant, structure and substances;
  • 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 (e.g. bathrooms);
  • providing workers with any information, instructions, training or supervision needed for them to work safely and without risk to their health;
  • that the health of workers and the conditions at the workplace are monitored for the purpose of preventing illness or injury of workers arising from the conduct of the business or undertaking.

To do so, you must assess the risks present in the workplace (which will generally be your home) and implement and review control measures to prevent or minimise the Employee's exposure to those risks.

To properly manage exposure to risks, you should:

  • identify workplace hazards;
  • determine who might be harmed, and how;
  • decide on control measures;
  • put controls in place;
  • provide information to ensure staff are aware of any controls and precautions to take whenever hazards cannot be avoided; and
  • review the controls regularly.

Consultation with your Employees - It is good practice (and legislation requires) that you consult with your employees in regards to their health and safety.  One of the major benefits of consultation should be that you can openly discuss not only what is the potential for harm to the employee but also the potential for you as the recipient of their work practice.

Reporting incidents - there is a legislative requirement to report 'notifiable incidents' that occur in a workplace.  Generally, reporting of incidents should assist with the development of better work practice and better outcomes for all.

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