At a recent refresher seminar for ‘OHS for Managers’, experts say managers should picture themselves on the witness stand should there be an incident. This key tip was to get managers thinking if their OHS policy would stand up in court.
In Australia all business are legally required to provide documentation and evidence of an appropriate safety system. This is to demonstrate that all businesses took appropriate steps to protect workers in the event of an incident in the workplace.
Back to the witness box and with the gift of hindsight, what case would you wish to be able to present?
Would you be able to demonstrate that you:
- Took all reasonable steps to provide a safe work environment?
- Had inducted all staff, contractors and visitors appropriately into your environment with respect to OHS?
- Encouraged consultation with staff and contractors to enhance the effectiveness of procedures?
- Conduct regular reviews and evaluations of the health and safety systems in place?
These are some key elements of a basic OHS policy. All employees or contract workers at various external sites must be inducted into a safe environment. This is the minimum requirement and you must contain documented evidence they have seen this.
The objective of your workplace OHS Policy is obviously not to protect your business from conviction. But by looking at your safety systems from the viewpoint of the witness box you will ensure the true objective of OHS Law which is the safety and wellbeing of your workers.