Task 1: OHS Laws and Institutional Frameworks The Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act sets out the laws about health and safety requirements affecting workplaces, work activities and the use of plant and substances. Besides that, the OHS Act is an essential framework in the workplace to cultivate good safety habits in all individuals so as to stimulate a strong safety culture in the workplace. The Act establishes a framework for people by preventing or minimising their exposure to risk. One of the key features of the OHS Act is that it establishes a workplace health and safety board that encourages industry participation and cooperation.Another feature is that the OHS Act imposes workplace health and safety obligations on people who may affect the health and safety of others by what they do or fail to do. It is important to know that the OHS does not only affect the employers, but also the workers and everyone in the workplace too.
Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, employers have responsibilities for their workers and any other persons who may be present at their workplace. An employer can be defined as any person or organization that has engaged the services of others, and in this case, the employer will be the ‘Body Beautiful’ corporation.Of course, the workers also have a part to play in the OHS Act. Generally, a worker has a broader definition than an employee and a worker is defined someone who receives wages or commission, regardless of the number of hours worked each week, and includes workers who work away from the employer’s premises. An employer must ensure the health, safety and welfare at work of all employees. The duty of employers is the broad duty of care under common law.
Basically, the employer has a duty to provide safe premises; a duty to provide safe plant and equipment and a duty to provide a safe work system.Employers are required to: •provide and maintain a safe working environment •provide and maintain safe plant and systems of work (including, for example, identifying, assessing and controlling hazards) •provide information, instruction and supervision of employees to ensure health and safety •ensure the safe use, storage and handling of substances •provide adequate facilities for staff •have consultation with employees/Health and Safety Representatives about OHS. All employees, from managers down, should have their OHS responsibilities included in their duty statements or job descriptions.It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that this occurs as part of the supervision of the workers. Employees also must take reasonable care of the health and safety of themselves and others and must co-operate with employers in their efforts to comply with occupational health and safety requirements.
The employees responsibilities defined in the OHS Act are as follows: •take reasonable care to ensure their own safety •not place others at risk by any act or omission •follow safe work procedures •use and care for equipment as instructed •not recklessly interfere with safety equipment report hazards and injuries In addition to the duty of employers to ensure the health and safety of their own employees, an additional duty is generally placed on employers to take reasonable care to ensure, as far as is practicable, the health and safety of persons who are not their employees is not adversely affected as a result of the work the employer and their employees do. It is hence important to note that not everyone in the workplace, be it the employers or employees have a part to play in the OHS Act and it takes the cooperation of everyone to create a safe workplace for all.Task 2: Identifying Hazards and Managing Risk Workers in a construction site may be exposed to various hazardous substances and physical agents.
Excessive exposures to these substances/agents may result in acute injury, chronic illness, permanent disability or even death. Loss of concentration at work and fatigue arising from poor health conditions may also increase the risk of accidents. The main types of hazards in the construction site are health hazards.
Health hazards can de further classified into chemical, physical and ergonomic hazards.Chemical hazards in the construction may develop from dust, fumes, fibers and liquids. They can be emitted by welding, spraying paint and using solvents. There also are hazards found in materials such as asbestos, lead, silica, cadmium and carbon monoxide. At the construction site, workers might be exposed to chemicals by breathing them in, ingestion and absorption through the eyes or skin. Chemicals at the construction work sites can cause headaches, eye irritation, dizziness, faintness, sleepiness and thus affect judgment and coordination.Physical hazards in a construction zone include noise, vibration, extreme temperatures and radiation.
Extended noise levels above 85 decibels can cause future hearing loss. Vibration harm typically occurs when workers use hand tools for extended periods. To prevent this, workers should take breaks and use earplugs to protect the body and ears from vibration and noise. In the site, extreme temperature changes can cause heat rash, fainting, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, frost nip, immersion injury, frostbite and hypothermia.
.Ergonomic hazards cause disabling injuries to the joints and muscles. Ergonomic hazards occur most frequently in construction and contribute to the most injuries on job sites. These hazards occur because of heavy, frequent and awkward lifting or grips. Excessive force, overexertion, improper use of tools or use of the wrong tools also contributes to problems including sprains, strains, tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, back pain and fatigue. In conclusion, the work being done in the construction site can be classified to be of high risk to extremely high risk according to the Risk Assessment Matrix.Hence, prevention is vital by having risk assessment at site. The use of proper personal protective equipment and control of the site is also essential in keeping the hazards of the site to a minimum.
Task 3: Managing psychosocial hazards (refer to Appendix A) Health and safety legislation now requires organizations to undertake risk assessments for psychosocial hazards in the workplace. Despite this, there is relatively little guidance on what constitutes a psychosocial risk assessment and how one should be conducted.Whilst most physical hazards have a clear link to physical injury, diagnosed illness or symptoms, it is not always clear what forms of harm are caused by psychosocial hazards. At one extreme, these might be psychiatric illnesses but at the other, a wide range of moods (anxiety, depression, irritability), or affective states (poor job satisfaction, low organizational commitment) are attributed to stress as well as a wide range of psychosomatic symptoms (headaches, increased drinking, sleeplessness).With psychosocial harm, it seems far more complex and difficult to identify the degree of harm suffered. I believe that motivating factors that influence work place bullying are power and privilege.
Power allows an individual in a place of control to exert pressure over subordinates to get what they want. Privilege creates a position where an individual usurps others to satisfy their own personal needs. The imbalance of power and privilege is rife throughout the workplace from the production floor to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The imbalance of power and privilege covers many issues and isms.These issues and isms from class, ethnicity and sex are powerful motivators in the struggle within the diversity of the workplace. Human resource departments have a duty to encourage a process of bringing awareness to the issues of Power, Privilege and Diversity that exist and cause difference in the workplace. Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP) are an integral part of the Human Resource Manager and General Supervisors tools of assisting those that may be at risk of bullying in the workplace. It is hence essential to provide EAP to revolve work place issues involving psychosocial hazards objectivelyTask 4: Notifying, Reporting and Managing Incidents A worker is someone who receives wages or commission, regardless of the number of hours worked each week, and includes workers who work away from the employer’s premises.
If a person or business employs or hires workers on a regular, casual or contract basis, they are considered to be an employer and must have a workers’ compensation insurance policy. Some people working as contractors are also treated as workers for workers compensation purposes, depending on the individual circumstances.If there is a workplace injury, a contractor may be entitled to receive workers compensation. In some cases the employer (or principal contractor) must cover the contractor for workers compensation. When there is an injury at work all employers must: •Attend to the injured worker as soon as possible; •Notify the insurer or agent within 48 hours and complete the incident report form as soon as possible; •Cooperate and participate with the insurer or agent to develop an injury management plan for the injured worker; •Implement and monitor a return to work plan for the injured worker.
In this case, the direct cause of Tony’s pain is caused by the accident when he fell backwards onto the ground while cleaning the back of the truck. Firstly, we can establish that there is an existing contractual agreement between Tony and the concrete supplier because Tony is a permanent causal. If cleaning of the back of the truck is within the scope of Tony’s job, and his employer has overlooked the safety factors of this task, the employer would be responsible. His employer would have failed to provide a duty of care to maintain and provide a safe work environment to Tony.These actions of his employer would be deemed as contributing factors to the accident.
The cause of Tony injuries could be because his employer did not provide proper equipment for Tony to clean the back of the truck. The immediate corrective activity would be for the employer to check if Tony needs any medical treatment. Alternatively, Tony can notify his employer of any injury or illness within 30 days of becoming aware of it and make a workers’ compensation claim (including providing a WorkCover medical certificate) in order to receive payment for medical expenses and time lost due to medical appointments.The preventive and follow-up activity that the employer can do is to know if there is any industry standard that is being prescribed for such activity like the cleaning of the back of a concrete truck. There is the duty of care on the part of the employer but the duty of the employer is not absolute as shown in the case of Interstruct Pty Ltd v Wakelam (1990).
The employer should take reasonable care for its workers, so far as was practicable, that the workplace and all related access to it is safe and is not exposed to risks of danger to all who enters or work in it.Even if there is no industry standard, some positive action must be taken to prevent or minimize any possible risk of harm or danger to anyone within the workplace like in the case of Latimer v AEC case (1953). Appendix A: Workplace Bullying – Chief Executive Officer resigns admitting ‘unbecoming behaviour’ in $A34 million lawsuit Posted: Aug 16, 2010 | Comments: 0 | Recently a massive claim ($A37 million) for damages for sexual harassment was lodged by an employee of David Jones, one of the largest and most prestigious department Stores in Australia, against the CEO.The fallout for the perpetrator has been that the CEO has resigned admitting to “unbecoming behaviour”; and the victim may not as yet received any assistance.
In this instance the perpetrator is evident and the victim is out in the open; however much of the time bullying goes unreported and unnoticed until sometimes when personal grievances or constructive dismissal complaints are laid.The key findings and observations in the 2009 Study commissioned by the New Zealand Government (Bentley et. al. ) found the following: •The industry-level perspective was that workplace stress and bullying were relatively widespread across the health and education sectors, but that bullying was most evident in certain ‘hotspots’ within hospitality, notably the kitchen area; •Underlying problems within health and education appear to be structural.A wide range of organisational factors were associated with workplace stress and bullying risk –including ineffective leadership, resourcing problems, poor work organisation, human resources practices, and organisational strategies for the management of psychosocial hazards •All sectors had limited understanding of the workplace bullying problem and how to address it through initiatives for its management and control. Tony Lipanovic.
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