Anyone who can affect the health and safety of people in a workplace has a role in protecting it.
Your employer's responsibilities
Your workplace has a legal responsibility to make sure that your health and safety is not harmed while you are at work.
Under workplace health and safety laws, an employer has certain responsibilities and must provide:
- a safe working environment including safe work areas, machinery and equipment
- adequate facilities and access to those facilities for the health and safety of workers (such as work spaces, toilet facilities, break-out/lunch room, first aid facilities)
- a safe system of work such as safety procedures
- information, supervision, instruction and training on the safe use, handling and storage of machinery, structures, substances and other work tasks
- personal protective equipment as required
- a system to identify hazards, assess and control risks
- a method of consulting with workers on safe work issues or changes in the workplace.
These responsibilities are called your employer's 'Duty of Care' – but it's also important that you understand that the responsibility for safe work does not fall entirely upon your employer.
You must take responsibility for your own health and safety at work.
- follow all reasonable safety instructions
- use equipment carefully
- use personal protective equipment provided
- follow the correct safe working procedures
- report hazards, accidents, injuries or near misses
- don't put others in the workplace at risk of injury or illness
- not be affected by drugs or alcohol at work.
Before you start work - your employer or supervisor should show you around and explain any safety dos and don'ts, and any procedures and forms that relate to your job. If your workplace has a Health and Safety Representative, you should also meet this person so you know who to go to if you have a safety concern.
Everyone is responsible for safe work – so if you're not sure about something, ask someone.