Another great article from our favourite Safety Nerd:
What system to use to update your WHS system?
Posted on December 5, 2011 by The Safety Nerd
Recently I’ve been working with quite a lot of company’s updating their system documents in line with the impending WHS changes. Some of the main changes I’ve found have been
the jargon and responsibilities. There’s not really that much until, that is you look under the sheets and find all the short and curlies particularly when you are reviewing all the codes and you have procedural documents that relate specifically back to the codes that’s where it gets down to you wanting to put it in your ever growing too hard pile.
In a nut shell, here are the major changes I’d recommended for a system:
- Change employee to workers. Don’t just click the ‘replace’ button, as some instances such as relating to workers comp you will want to keep the reference to employees.
- Change OHS to WHS
- Don’t change every procedure to include responsibilities for ‘Officer’s. The easiest way to solve this problem is to have a ‘schedule of officers’ and list those who fall under the definition of an officer and add it into your Responsibilities and Accountabilities procedure in terms of what Officers are required to do and spell out the due diligence requirements. Don’t forget to also include Officer’s in your training matrix for specific due diligence training and update the specific job descriptions.
- ‘Other persons’ such as visitors, make sure they are inducted even if it’s through a visitor sign in and escorted, and look at signage and contract terms.
- Consultation is a big one. Make sure there is consultation with other duty holders such as contractors and add in Health and Safety Representatives. Check out Part 5 of the WHS Act and the Code for Consultation, there’s lots of small changes which I’ve mentioned in a previous blog which needs to be included in your consultation procedure
- Incident notifications – make sure that whenever there is an incident that needs to be notified that the system related documents and SWMS are also reviewed, and update notifable reporting requirements and how to notify.
- Risk management has changed somewhat as risks do not necessarily need assessing if the risks are already well known, or are industry standard. Some organisations I’ve worked with have still wanted to stick to assessing all risks, others haven’t, but it’s important that this isn’t then used as an excuse to skip assessment all together. Have a look in detail at the Code of Practice for Managing Risk, and ensure the hierarchy of control is lined up with changes.
- Construction work is quite a big one, with a definition of what ‘high risk’ construction work is, and that SWMS need to be completed for all high risk work. Most construction company’s I’ve dealt with have wanted to keep the requirement for SWMS for all work, not just high risk. The Code is quite detailed so take some time to read through it, as it includes quite a lot of detail in terms of construction and very small sentence changes will probably be required in your procedure documents.
- Work at heights is another one that has changed quite a bit, calling it now ‘risk of fall’ and the measurements have changed in terms of when to use height protection whereas the code is quite detailed in terms of all the equipment, requirements and fall controls. There will be lots of small sentence changes with these.
To do a complete system review, you will need to read all the codes, and cross reference all your documents. It’s a big job, but a job well worth doing correctly.
The Safety Nerd x
(any help, feel free to contact me)