Do you know what WHS stands for?
WHS is the new government abbreviation for Workplace Health & Safety. The Western Australian Government will soon legislate national WHS laws that will bring WA in line with the rest of Australia regarding our Health and Safety Legislation.
Do you understand your WHS obligations?
Understanding your Workplace Health & Safety obligations and responsibilities is the first thing businesses need to do. It is a legal responsibility for all businesses to protect all workers, contractors, volunteers and visitors to the workplace. Based on your individual place of work and the levels of risk that your business undertakes in its day-to-day activities, is how you go about understanding your WHS obligations.
Would you know if you are breaking the law?
Most people don’t realise that they are actually breaking the law if they breach their Workplace Health & Safety responsibilities.
To give you an example in the everyday world – for everyone who drives a car, as you approach traffic lights we all do a mini risk assessment – Is there enough green left in the lights? Can we make it through? Are there any police around? How heavy is the traffic etc.? You know that it is a risk to run a red light, as the driver of your car you hope that there is no red light camera or cop at that intersection; you also hope that you don’t run into anyone and injure or kill them. However, as a licenced driver you KNOW that it is illegal and extremely dangerous to run that red light, you are just hoping you don’t get caught.
However, if you (or anyone else) are driving your car and you run a red light and severely injure someone, you (and the driver, if you gave your car to someone else) WILL BE caught and charged according to the full extent of the law. You will face prosecution even if you don’t have a licence and therefore don’t know the rules. If you have a licence, know all the rules and still decided to run the red light your liabilities will be even greater as you ignored your training and still went ahead with your risky behaviour.
In this instance you can see that ignorance is not a defence and no matter what, if you don’t abide by the law you will be charged.
Conversely, if you know your responsibilities as a car owner / operator and have completed all your training and ‘passed your licence’ and obeyed the rules, in the unfortunate event that an accident happened, you can then prove that you knew the risks and had put everything possible in place to stop an accident happening. You will then have reduced your likelihood of being held responsible by the court of law.
Breaches to the WHS regulations can incur severe fines and/or imprisonment subject to the severity of the breach – Can you and your family afford to lose your assets and the possibility of you facing jail time?
By Samantha Robinson, GWM Consultants
NE: Solutions has partnered with GWM Consultants, a Workplace Health & Safety (WHS) Specialist Company with over 50 years combined experience within the Health & Safety industry and are at the forefront of changes taking place that can affect all business owners.
Contact us now to discuss your current compliance with the Workplace Health & Safety Legislation.