OHS risk assessments still matter, but a systemised approach is the
new order of the day - Work Health and Safety Act 2012
by Chris Beasley
The Risk Assessment.
When was the last time you performed a risk assessment on this piece of
This question seemed to be the only thing that really mattered to most
state WorkCover and WorkSafe regulators in Australia if there was ever a
workplace incident that resulted in a follow up investigation.
Fortunately, under new national model work health and safety laws, which
will be released in each state in 2012 and called the (respective) Work
Health and Safety Acts, the state regulators are taking on a more holistic
view on how workplace safety or OHS is managed within a working
The new legislation, which will be complemented by Work Health and Safety
Regulations and relevant industry Codes of Practice, calls for a more
systemised approach to workplace health and safety.
This would suggest that simply performing a risk assessment to determine
the level of risk each hazard and work activity in the workplace has is
simply not enough.
What perhaps would satisfy the new approach is having a working, integrated
OHS management system in place that has the support and engagement of all
those in the workplace.
And these days, a paper based 'OHS management system' just won't cut it.
Why is that?
OHS documentation contained within these systems for the most part sit and
gather dust and a lot of the time, workers and even management within some
workplaces have little or no idea such documentation even exists.
Rather than having an OHS system, these workplaces have a set of policies
and procedures and forms that are never viewed, much less used.
An integrated online OHS (workplace safety) management system - one that
engages the workplace to perform ongoing tasks and functions, track hazards
and incidents and one that highlights overall OHS performance over time is
an excellent alternative.
A system that of course includes an OHS risk assessment tool and guidance
documents, but one that also approaches ongoing compliance in a holistic,
Online OHS systems, rather than cost money and take time
to manage, in fact reduce both where a clearer picture of the current state
of play and a plan to move forward make ongoing compliance a much easier
Most online systems will also include free OHS policy and procedures
template manuals that can be easily amended to suit the individual
workplace, include forms for online staff inductions, contractor management
tools and registers for hazardous substances, first aid and more.
A move to encourage a more systemised approach to workplace health and
safety (OHS) is a welcome one and should make ongoing compliance a more
straightforward approach for all businesses.
For more information on online OHS (workplace safety) management systems,
go to: www.smartohs.com.au