The first step to establishing a systematic, pro-active approach to managing health and safety in the workplace is a comprehensive plant risk assessment.
The legislation covering OHS requirements in the workplace varies across Australia. However, moves have been made towards a nationalised system with the introduction of the new Work Health and Safety Act 2011.
Although being implemented in different phases by the states and territories, 1 January 2012 saw the commencement of the legislation in Queensland, New South Wales, Commonwealth areas, the ACT and the Northern Territory.
Existing regulations relating to plant risk assessment in other states closely mirror this legislation, and businesses will recognise the need to prepare for the introduction of the new regulations.
Who requires plant risk assessments?
Under the Work Health and Safety Act (and Regulations) 2011, plant is defined to cover items including:
- Pressure equipment
- Powered mobile plant amusement structures
- Explosive-powered tools
- Temporary access equipment
Means of transportation, such as ships, boats, aircraft, road and rail vehicles, as well as manual-powered hand-held plants, are not covered by the regulations.
The new WHS Act covers any “Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking” (PCBU) involving this equipment.
Are you accountable?
Depending on where you are based, the new regulations contain broadened definitions of persons with health and safety duties, along with an increased requirement for duty holders to consult with others.
PCBUs are required to eliminate risks so far as is “reasonably practicable.” When assessing whether or not sufficient effort was made to eliminate risk, the act takes into consideration not only to what you know, but what you should know about risks and hazards in the workplace.
Thorough, objective plant risk assessment on your own work environment can be difficult. Potential risks and hazards can be overlooked by non-professional assessors.
Benefits of assessment
There are many reasons as to why businesses should undertake thorough plant risk assessment:
- Reduced likelihood of workplace incidents and injuries
- Reduced chance of prosecution – Australian Risk Services carries out assessments according to the new legislation, which ensures that advice is relevant to your current obligations
- Can implement more robust and efficient business processes
- Better safety profile improves attractiveness to investors and potential partners and customers
- Ensures machines are up-to-date with the latest legislative/regulatory requirements
- Helps provide information for use in training and assessing competency of employees in safe operation of machinery
- Protects employees – accidents can have many knock-on effects, for example reducing workforce morale
- Learn about industry best practice from an industry expert
- It is the best way to get updated and a thorough understanding of the latest regulations and your compliance requirements
Broad industry experience
ARS has worked with clients across a diverse range of industries, including:
- Food and beverage
- Meat production and processing
- Waste management
- Air transport
This diverse experience means that we understand the hazards associated with a wide range of equipment, can think laterally and know how to provide practical guidance on how to meet regulatory requirements.
The aim of the new regulations is to provide a nationally consistent framework, reducing confusion, double handling and separate process development across different jurisdictions. The transition to operating under the new regulations, however, may be difficult, requiring consultation with an industry professional.
Australian Risk Services provides a range of other services relating to the new regulations, including OHS risk assessments for confined spaces, dangerous goods, hazardous substances, manual handling, working at heights and more.
We also offer training courses, environmental auditing and safety management system design.
For more information on plant risk assessment or any other services offered by ARS, contact us today.