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Mitigating Work Health and Safety (WHS) risks in business

Running a risk-managed business is not a one-time, set and forget operation. For real value in your business, to operate smoothly, and for you as a business leader to be pro-active, involves implementing a comprehensive strategy to identify, assess, and control hazards in the workplace. Here are some key steps to mitigate WHS risks effectively:

Risk Assessment: Conduct regular risk assessments to identify potential hazards in the workplace. This process involves evaluating tasks, equipment, work environments, and employee behaviours to determine the likelihood and severity of potential injuries or illnesses. Even in office situations, there are many risks and hazards to physical and psychosocial health and wellbeing which are the legislated obligation and primary duty of care of the Business Owner to manage and control.

Hierarchy of Controls: Implement the hierarchy of controls to manage identified risks effectively. This hierarchy prioritizes controls based on their effectiveness in eliminating or reducing hazards. The hierarchy includes:

  • Elimination of hazards

  • Substitution of equipment

  • Engineering controls such as noise baffles

  • Isolation of people from the hazards with guards

  • Administrative controls such as policies and procedures to minimise exposure.

  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) as a last resort to protect employees.

Safety Training and Education: This is so important, and relates to continuous improvements in business and risk management. Becoming a "learning organisation" should be a business goal of every proactive leader.

Provide comprehensive safety training and education to employees at all levels of the organization. Ensure that employees understand WHS policies, procedures, and safe work practices relevant to their roles. Training should cover topics such as hazard recognition, emergency procedures, and proper use of PPE.

Consultation and Involvement: Involve employees in WHS decision-making processes and consult with them on matters that affect their health and safety. Encourage feedback, suggestions, and participation in safety committees or meetings to promote ownership and engagement in WHS initiatives.

Safety Culture: Foster a positive safety culture within the organization where safety is prioritized, and employees feel empowered to identify and report hazards. Encourage open communication, participation, and collaboration in safety initiatives, and recognize and reward safe behaviors.

Regular Inspections and Audits: Conduct regular inspections and audits of the workplace to identify potential hazards and ensure compliance with WHS regulations and standards. Address any issues or deficiencies promptly and implement corrective actions as necessary.

Incident Investigation: Establish procedures for investigating and documenting workplace incidents, accidents, near misses, and injuries. Conduct thorough investigations to determine the root causes of incidents and identify corrective actions to prevent recurrence.

Emergency Preparedness: Develop and implement emergency response plans and procedures to effectively respond to workplace emergencies such as fires, chemical spills, or medical incidents. Provide training and drills to ensure that employees are prepared to respond appropriately in emergency situations.

Regular Review and Improvement: Continuously review and improve WHS practices, procedures, and controls based on feedback, incident data, and changes in the work environment. Stay informed about emerging hazards, technologies, and best practices in WHS management.

Leadership Commitment: Demonstrate leadership commitment to WHS by allocating resources, providing support, and actively participating in safety initiatives. Leaders should lead by example and communicate the importance of safety as a core organisational value.

By implementing these strategies, businesses can effectively mitigate WHS risks, create a safer work environment, and protect the health and well-being of their employees.

If you would like some help with WHS /OHS compliance, check my calendar

or phone 0432 542 660 in business hours for assistance.



Author: Gabrielle Condon- CC Safety 04.07.2024.

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