These are supporting documents that are additional to the Acts or Regulations they are relevant to.
Their aim is to provide practical advice and guidance on how to comply with the general obligations stipulated within the Acts or Regulations.
As is the case for other supplementary information, this material is not mandatory as it is purely designed to assist in meeting obligations.
There are basically two types of Official Standards.
The first being National Standards produced by the National Occupational Health & Safety Commission. These deal with specific workplace problems.
The second are Standards produced by Standards Australia. These cover a broad spectrum and include issues such as technical or design requirements that may impact on the workplace (eg safety equipment).
These final types of documents provide information and/or guidelines for controlling specific hazards and risks in the workplace.
They may also incorporate solutions to problems that may be specific to that Industry.
are supported by
which are in turn supported by
(Such as Codes of Practice, Official Standards, Industry Standards and Guidance Notes).
Most of the documentation discussed has been generated by government or industry bodies.
There are significant other sources of information available in regards to health and safety in libraries or on the internet. Some of it may be very specific.
Also remember that your local WorkCover(WorkSafe) site is a useful source of information. For example, www.worksafe.vic.gov.au or in NSW www.workcover.nsw.gov.au.
One of the most important tenets of the OH&S Act is that of employee consultation.
The idea is to have employee participation in decisions that concern their health and safety.
Consultation can be difficult in a large facility, but everyone should have access to a safety committee via nominated health and safety representatives.
Be aware of your right to participate in OH&S issues.
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The basis of all workplace health and safety is the Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) Act.
Each state has its own Act and although the wording may differ from state to state, the basic objectives remain the same.
To secure and promote the health, safety and welfare of people in the workplace.
To protect people in the workplace against risks to their health or safety arising from workplace activities.
To assist in securing a safe and healthy workplace environment.
To identify, assess and then eliminate as far as is possible risks to the health, safety and well being of people in the workplace.
To provide a process of consultation between employers and employees that provides for involvement in the development & implementation of health and safety standards at work.
To achieve this, it is necessary for an employer to provide information, instruction, supervision and training to ensure these provisions are met.
The Act is supported by other documentation that is deemed supplementary to it.
The Act allows for Regulations to be prepared to support a particular general obligation.
Hence we have Regulations covering specific issues, such as Dangerous Goods & Hazardous Substances.
As for the initiating Act, compliance with Regulations is mandatory.
The Act and supporting Regulations are themselves supported by other supplementary health and safety documentation. This documentation is designed to assist/guide and is therefore not mandatory to follow.
This is the third tier of the documentation and is known as Supplementary Documentation.
The type of information included here is Codes of Practice, Standards, Industry Standards and Guidance Notes.
Safety in the laboratory must be an individual and personal responsibility, as well as a requirement placed upon management.
Staff training should be directed towards making safety considerations an attitude of mind and an integral part of all workplace procedures.
No one document can ensure safe work practices.
The quality of the previous training and experience of a person.
The testing and labelling of chemicals or the information that is available in the workplace.
The design and maintenance of the laboratory's facilities.
The reliability and safety of the equipment available for use.
To make staff aware of the potential hazards associated with working in laboratory environments.
Instil in people the need to think about what they are doing.
It is important for anyone that is working in a technical environment to become aware of the fact that the use of chemicals and equipment in the workplace environment is potentially dangerous.
Acknowledging this is paramount to developing a safety consciousness and the appropriate attitude for the workplace.
Staff must take all possible steps to minimise and guard against accidents.
This can be achieved by adopting safe work practices at all times.
This means that staff need to develop a new workplace safety philosophy.
The philosophy is that staff need to Stop and Think about what they are doing.
What does this Stop and Think philosophy mean? This means that staff need to become aware of the workplace processes they are performing; and, any hazards associated with them.
To do this they need to understand the techniques, chemicals and equipment they are using.
If they do, this will minimise the potential for human error as a contributing factor to a workplace incident.
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