Operating a business is complex and implementing safety systems can increase the complexity for managers - however, the law is clear; you must have and use a 'Safety System' which includes documents such as JSA's and SWMS's.
The OHS/WHS Compliance industry has come up with mountains of jargon, acronyms and technical bs which is often boring and very unlikely to be read. Here we keep it simple.
There are the three components to Safety Compliance:
Your organisation must ensure all workers, bystanders and anyone else who comes along later, isn't hurt. If someone is injured, then the injury of itself is almost (but not quite) proof that you failed. If there is a serious injury there’s a good chance you will face prosecution.
Even if the injured person is an utter idiot, at fault and you had done a reasonable job of protecting everyone, you might still go through a couple of years of significant turmoil, loss of contracts, loss of reputation, a probing investigation into your most private business orifices, financial stress, personal stress . . . before the case is finally dropped just before the hearing.
So make sure you keep everyone and the environment safe. The
best way ONLY WAY to do this consistently is with 'Culture' - Meaning your entire team actually cares about keeping everyone safe. Workplaces are dynamic so the entire team has to be thinking safety all the time, speaking up and keeping each other accountable all the time. Just having a written 'System' parked on the shelf such as an Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OHSMS) is unlikely to protect everyone unless the culture is right.
The law is clear: you must have a 'system' however the law doesn't mandate the design of your system. Your workplace is unique, so what the lawmakers are saying is "you're the experts at what you do, so you design a system that fits".
The system can be relatively simple, actually, we would say the simpler, the better.
Your system needs a few things including:
(ProofSafe is tailored to simplify all your audits, equipment records, safety meeting records, internal feedback, PPE records, training records, Pre-start checks, etc)
Putting an OHS/WHS system together can take a lot of time however it's essential for legal workplace compliance. Additionally Work Providers putting out tenders will want to see your entire documented system, you can't get large contracts without comprehensive OHS / WHS documents.
Workplace safety documents can become a massive, time consuming, frustrating disaster. Legally you MUST have them, but keep in mind all your systems should be 'practicable', this means 'doable' so if you force the team to fill in four pages of tick boxes before every job, then this is a massive waste of time, frustrating for workers and a disincentive for teams 'to care'. Your documents should be designed in consultation with workers and be simple.
Documents suited for many higher risk industries may include:
The names above are examples only. You will often find the same names used to mean different things, it can get confusing. Legally you can use nearly any name you like, perhaps: 'ACE' - Arse Covering Exercise!
The exception to flexible naming is where there are regulatory requirements, for example regulations require a Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) for high risk and construction work, additionally 'licence' has a specific legal meaning.
In summary: all organisations and individuals are legally obligated 'To Care' and to maintain a documented system that proves they care. If authorities get involved after an accident then the charges laid may include both a failure to properly care AND a failure to maintain adequate documentation.
These two terms (JSA and SWMS) get confused and interchanged a bit. As discussed above you can call most of your documents whatever you want but most often it works like this:
ProofSafe can consult on your safety documentation such as SWMS's and policies.
ProofSafe replaces paper systems making it much easier for organisations to keep systems, documents, forms and reports up to date. Additionally ProofSafe can replace almost any other paper system such as time-sheets, quoting or data collection for research and reports.
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