What is a "workplace"
The information presented in the overhead describes the responsibilities of an employer under Section 19 of the OHS Act.
In addition to Section 19, one of the objectives of the OHS Act is to "secure the health, safety and welfare of persons at work".
The use of the term "at work" refers to the workplace - the definition of "workplace" for the purposes of the OHS Act is:
"Any place (including any aircraft, ship or vehicle) an employee or self-employed person works and includes any place where such a person goes while at work".
In simple terms this means wherever a person performs their job is their workplace.
Examples of this are:
- Factory work - anywhere in the factory.
- Office work - in the office.
- Teachers - while in the classroom, in the school yard or on an excursion.
- Bus drivers - while driving their bus or when they are in the depot.
- Council workers - Anywhere they are required to work (roads, parks or when they are collecting rubbish on the back of a truck).
What is a "new worker"
The term new worker describes anyone who:
- Enters the workforce for the first time.
- Re-enters the workforce after a long absence.
- Changes jobs.
- Has been working for their employer for less than 12 months.
Why are new workers at greater risk?
New workers have a 30 per cent higher chance of being injured at work in the first twelve months working with a new employer.
When new workers start work:
- They may not get the appropriate amount of information, instruction or training they require.
- They are keen to impress their employer/supervisor and may take risks to prove they can work like experienced workers.
- They may not be confident to identify or report hazards for fear of being seen as complaining or "weak".
What should be done to help new workers?
The OHS Act and Regulations require that employers provide all employees with the appropriate level of information, instruction and supervision.
When a new worker starts work, the employer is required to provide general information about:
- Who they will be working with - supervisors, health and safety representatives.
- Emergency procedures and equipment - first aid and fire safety.
- What work they will be doing.
- Facilities - locker rooms, meal rooms etc.
- The start and finish of the work day.
Instruction and training about:
- How to safely operate machinery.
- Hazards on the job and in the workplace.
- Reporting hazards and injuries.
- Who to speak to when there is a safety problem.
The level of supervision to be provided depends on:
- The worker's ability - if they show they can do the job safely.
- The worker's experience, knowledge and skills.
- The hazards associated with the job.
Employers are required to provide new workers with an induction program, which should cover each of the points mentioned.