With new Health and Safety laws set to take effect from April 4 2016, HazardCo’s Kieran Cripps has some advice for ensuring health and safety in the construction workplace.
1. Please introduce yourself.
Im Kieran Cripps I am a sales and service representative for HazardCo. We provide Health and Safety procedures and systems through Construction, Ag/Hort, Manufacturing and offices for you to implement within your business and address the requirement of the new legislation. I have been working for HazardCo for the past 7 years and seen a lot of changes to the health and safety act and great to see the culture around health and safety change within the different industries as well.
2. How far do you feel new legislation will change the Construction industry?
I think the changes are going to be positive on the industry to not only create safer working environments but to also have shared responsibilities in a number of areas.As a PCBU you must communicate, coordinate, cooperate with other PCBU’s on your work site. For some businesses its going to be a big change if you don’t have an active Health and Safety system & procedures in place and some tweaks here and there for those who have system but maybe haven’t implemented it to its entirety. Its about changing the culture within your company to ensure the safety of workers and anyone coming into you place of work. Documentation and proof of procedures is an important part so you can show that you are taking all “Reasonably Practicable” steps to ensure information, training, communication, participation and monitor and reviewing of your place of work. These are some of the things you need to have in place.
3. How soon will the changes come into effect?
The new legislation has been passed into law now but is going to be enforced as of the 4th April 2016.
4. What is the best advice you would give to a civil or building contractor that hasn’t planned for the new law change?
The best advice i would give to a PCBU is if you know you have no Health and Safety procedures within your business you need to contact an company like ourselves (HazardCo) to come look at your systems and give you the advice and guidance if you don’t have the knowledge or understanding of what you need to be doing. If you do have an understanding or you have a system but it hasn’t been run correctly then look into it and start to implement your current system. A Worksafe slogan has been over the last few years “Doing nothing is not an option”.
Q Who is responsible for workplace safety? EVERYONE
1. The Business itself (PCBU). The business will have the primary duty under the new law to ensure the health and safety of workers and others affected by the work it carries out. That’s why the business may also need to consult with other businesses where it shares a worksite or are part of a contracting or supply chain, to make sure all workers are safe and healthy. (In other words, all businesses understand and are aware of any hazards that may be introduced to the workplace by all other businesses / people working in that workplace).
2. Officers includes directors and other people who make governance decisions that significantly affect a business. Officers have a duty of due diligence to ensure their business complies with its health and safety obligations.
3. Workers must take reasonable care to ensure the health and safety of themselves and others, and to comply with the business’s reasonable instructions and policies.
4. Other people who come to the workplace, such as visitors or customers, also have some health and safety duties. It’s all about taking responsibility for what you can control.
Q What or who is a PCBU?
A PCBU is a ‘person conducting a business or undertaking’. While a PCBU may be an individual person or an organisation, in most cases the PCBU will be an organisation (for example, a business entity such as a company). An individual, such as a sole trader, can also be a PCBU.
Q Who is not a PCBU?
The following are not PCBUs:
· volunteer associations,
· home occupiers who employ or engage someone to do work around the home,
· persons to the extent they are solely a worker or an officer in the business or undertaking.
Q What do businesses (PCBUs) need to do?
A PCBU needs to proactively identify and manage its health and safety risks, make sure information about health and safety is shared with workers, and ensure that workers are actively engaged in all matters that could affect their health and safety.
Use these tips to get your health and safety processes on the right track:
· Identify health and safety hazards and risks, and take steps to prevent these from happening.
· Make sure health and safety in your business is led from the top, has involved workers, is understood by your workers, and is reviewed regularly.
· Hold regular training on health and safety matters.
· Engage workers in health and safety matters that affect them.
· Support all officers to get up to date with health and safety issues and key risk factors.
· Report and monitor health and safety goals.
· Regularly review any incidents.
· Carry out frequent health and safety audits.
These processes must be documented and records kept.