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The 10 essentials of a safe workplace: your checklist

By Paul Wilson

Having a safe workplace is not an option, it’s the law, here are some ways to to ensure you are staying front and centre of requirements.

  • Understand your obligations and responsibilities: CCI has Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Consultants that can help you manage your workplace health and safety needs, reducing the risk to your workers and helping you meet WA’s OHS laws.  
  • Spot hazards: A hazard is something that can cause harm, injury or ill health to a person who enters your workplace. Go through your workplace with appropriate checklists available from Worksafe and a hazard identification form 
  • Assess risks: A risk is the chance, high or low, that a hazard will actually harm someone. When you’ve identified hazards, the next step is to assess risk. To determine the potential severity of harm and the likelihood of an incident, create a ‘Risk Assessment Matrix’, setting out risks, likelihood and potential severity.  
  • Manage risks: The next step is to eliminate, minimise or control risks. Any that you cannot eliminate must be demonstrably managed through a hierarchy of control. Your last and least effective line of defence against risk is Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).  
  • Develop a ‘Safety Action Plan’: This is an important written record of your actions in relation to each hazard identified. It sets out control measures, priorities and allocates responsibility for safety-related tasks and actions. It also allows you, or an inspector, to monitor and review risks over the long term. Online Safety Action Plan templates are available at Worksafe WA. 
  • Document your ‘Safe Systems of Work’: These are rules on how to carry out specific work tasks – such as operating tools or storing equipment – safely to eliminate or minimise risk. 
  • Monitor and review: Carry out regular workplace inspections to check that all controls are in place and being observed. It’s easy to get into the habit of taking shortcuts, such as failing to use a machine guard or having the right PPE.  
  • Go back to the beginning when things change: Review and update your Safety Action Plan regularly. There is nothing permanent except change, whether it’s machinery, systems, people or seasons. Encourage others to help spot new hazards.  
  • Maintain a harmonious workplace: Negative workplace behaviours include bullying and conflict. These are hazards and pose a foreseeable risk to the mental health of your employees. Identify, assess and manage.  
  • Ensure that you have Workers’ Compensation Insurance: Cover all employees, including family. Workcover WA will sort you out, from understanding the legislation to engaging an insurer and reporting and managing claims.   

Having a safe workplace is not an option, it’s the law, here are some ways to to ensure you are staying front and centre of requirements.

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