As a business, you have obligations and responsibilities to keep your team safe and healthy while they’re in the workplace. This means that as much as reasonably practicable, you need to make sure people are not put at risk while working.
That’s why building a work health and safety policy is crucial for your business.
Ensure your organisation is covered by implementing WHS Procedures & Policies. Download our fully customisable, printable version for now. Entirely free.
About this Workplace Health and Safety policy template
This free Australian Workplace Health & Safety policy template will outline your organisation’s WHS policies to help keep employees safe and help prevent your organisation from compliance and liability issues.
The objectives of this policy are to, as far as reasonably practicable:
- Achieve a safe and incident-free workplace
- Consider WHS in project planning and work activities
- Involve workers and subcontractors in the decision-making process through regular communication and consultation
- Ensure workers and subcontractors identify and control risks in the workplace
- Monitor and review the elimination or control of potential risks
- Enhance workers’ WHS knowledge through a program of education and training.
Download your free template now.
What is a workplace health and safety policy?
Workplace health and safety is a legal requirement enforced by local laws and legislation and provides businesses with guidance on the standards of work health and safety.
The aim of having a WHS policy in place is to reduce risks and hazards in the workplace and to ensure the safety of their employees.
It is usually a document containing safety checklists that businesses have readily available to their teams.
How to build a Workplace Health and Safety policy
Luckily for you, making sure your business stays compliant is what Employment Hero do best! Our employee management tool has many policy templates readily available for your business to use. Find out more by reaching out to our business specialist today.
When putting together a workplace health and safety policy, you need to consider the following things:
Assess potential risks and hazards
Even if you work in an office, there are still things that can go wrong (ever burnt your hand using the boiling water tap? We rest our case…)
You need to think through all those things that could go wrong and what the potential consequences could be. You should also consider how serious those consequences could be and the likelihood of this scenario playing out.
For example in the hospitality business, accidents in the workplace such as cuts and burns will occur a lot more regularly.
In construction, you have a lot of people working with very heavy tools and dangerous equipment on-site which could cause heaps of health and safety risks if not used correctly.
Provide training and resources
Once you’ve identified the risks, you need to think about what you can reasonably do to prevent them from happening and then make those changes inside your business.
It might be introducing additional training, advice, or resources related to WHS or putting up signs to constantly remind people to be vigilant.
Whatever it takes, keep trialling new methods to make sure your employees are safe at work.
Collect feedback from employees
Talking to your staff and asking for feedback on what they perceive as a safety risk is a really good opportunity to understand your business better.
Encourage staff members to share their suggestions and brainstorm about how you can create a better working environment. You’ll also have people buy into your WHS policy before you even start.
How do you manage a WHS incident?
Despite your best efforts, accidents can and do still happen. With that in mind, you should also include in your health and safety policy what to do if there is an incident or accident at work.
This will ensure if the worst case does arise, everyone is prepared on what to do.
You will need to specify:
- What immediate actions should take place;
- Who in the business needs to be notified and when;
- If/when you need to notify Safework (if appropriate).
You should also have a process on how employees can record incidents, and you should regularly review these events to make sure the workplace remains safe.
Mental health in the workplace
Your business also has an obligation to make take care of the mental health of your staff as far as practically possible. This includes preventing bullying, harassment and discrimination in the workplace.
We would recommend sending a clear message that these behaviours won’t be tolerated in the workplace by having separate policies to deal with bullying, harassment and discrimination including a contact person to bring these issues up with confidentially if you don’t have a dedicated HR person inside your business.
According to the TNS report on the State of Workplace Mental Health in Australia;
- 91% of companies in Australia believe mental health in the workplace is important (88% believe physical safety is important)
- Despite this, only 52% of employees believe their workplace is mentally healthy compared to 76% for physical safety
- Only five in ten (56%) believe their most senior leader values mental health. These figures also reveal that one in five Australians (21%) has taken time off work in the past 12 months because they felt stressed, anxious, depressed or mentally unhealthy.
This shows just how important a workplace health and safety policy is to your business. You have a duty to make sure your employee wellness is checked!
A good tip for this is to introduce an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to help employees manage their mental health. You can read more about how to create a wellness strategy here.
Review your WHS policy regularly
Now, once you’ve got this outstanding company policy in place – make sure you review it regularly.
Workplace health and safety isn’t a set-and-forget activity. You should continuously be reassessing the risks that are involved in your business and coming up with new strategies to help make the workplace as safe as possible.
How Employment Hero can help
Employment Hero offers templates for Workplace Health and Safety and other policies that are constantly reviewed by our Employment Specialists, so you can be confident your company is up to date with any legislation changes.
If you aren’t using Employment Hero, all you need to do is start a free account for access to these templates.
When it comes to Health and Safety, being proactive is always better for everyone than being reactive. If you are not quite ready to start an account with us – download our workplace health and safety policy right here for free.
Disclaimer: If you’re unsure about what to include in your policy, any legal obligations or where to get started, it’s best to discuss the case with an expert.