OHS Manager Guide

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"The risks from poor work health and safety are high, yet a few straight-forward steps can avoid unlawful conduct."

Denise Mercer

Manager and Senior Training

Unity Training Services

Work Health and safety is about identifying and removing from the workplace anything that could potentially injure, also known as a hazard.  If a hazard can’t be removed then it needs to be controlled, to minimise as much as possible the risk that may lead to an injury or worse.  We deal with both the physical and psychological injuries and diseases and the rehabilitation of anyone injured preferably back to their pre-injury duties.

A safe workplace doesn't happen by chance or guesswork. It requires a systematic approach to finding and fixing hazards and risks.

This approach ensures the highest level of protection is in place for people at work. It begins with consulting staff on any potential health and safety issues and typically follows four steps:

  • Finding hazards in the workplace that could hurt people;
  • Assessing how people can be hurt and the likelihood of the hazards hurting people (the level of risk);
  • fixing or controlling the problems by deciding on the most effective risk controls that are reasonably practicable under the circumstances;
  • Reviewing your risk controls and checking that they work.

Risk management is the way we prevent workplace injuries and disease while consultation is the way by which those in the workplace, including Health and Safety Representatives, have input into how the employer applies a risk management approach at their workplace.

Working people can also be involved through their participation in job analysis – identifying the steps involved in performing a work task and what could go wrong at each step and what can we do to prevent or minimise that.

The results of these job analyses could be pre-start checklists or JSA checklists.

The safest workplaces adopt a “safe systems” of work approach; if a hazard can’t be eliminated at the source then the highest control measure possible should be implemented.

Due to costings, budgets, timelines etc the highest control measures may need to be introduced over a period of time.  However we should ensure the risk has been minimised for the short term too.

Once the control measure is in place, it need to be monitored to ensure it is working and does not create further hazards.  It is also important to periodically evaluate and review the control measures to see if they are still practicable and the most appropriate control measure.

This monitoring and review process ties in nicely with the functions of the HS committee

Worksafe WA have online documents (available here) that can assist you implement a Risk Management system.

Enrolling your staff in a course through Unity Training Services you can also implement a better Risk Management system. Find out about our upcoming courses here.


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