Business owners must provide and maintain a safe work environment and adequate facilities. You must also manage risks associated with remote and isolated work, and prepare emergency plans.
Refer to the Managing the work environment and facilities - Code of Practice for details.
Safe work environment
A safe work environment includes:
- being able to safely enter and leave the workplace including for workers with special needs or disabilities
- maintaining a clean and tidy workplace to minimise injuries resulting from slips and trips
- providing sufficient space for storage
- allowing sufficient clear space between furniture, fixtures and fittings so workers can move about freely without strain or injury, and can evacuate quickly in case of an emergency
- having suitable floor surface or covering for the type of work being carried out and materials used during the work process
- inspect floors regularly and maintain to eliminate slip and trip hazards such as uneven edges or broken surfaces, gratings or covers, loose mats or carpet tiles
- providing adjustable workstations so workers can carry out their work in a comfortable, upright position suitable for them and the task
- providing seating that gives good body and foot support (especially for the lower back) and allow adequate space for leg clearance and freedom of movement
- providing adequate lighting (natural or artificial) to allow:
- safe movement around the workplace
- workers to perform their work without having to strain their eyes
- the safe evacuation of people in the event of an emergency.
- adequately ventilating the workplace with fresh, clean air
- workplaces may have natural ventilation, mechanical ventilation (fans or extraction units) or air-conditioning
- natural ventilation should consist of permanent openings, including windows and doors, and may be assisted by mechanical ventilation
- air-conditioning and other ventilation systems should be regularly serviced and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
- providing local exhaust ventilation and extraction in areas where there may be a release harmful substances such as fumes and vapours
- maintaining a comfortable temperature for your workers with the use of air-conditioning, fans, electric heating and open windows, and by controlling air flow and the source of drafts
- work carried out in extreme heat or cold must be done so without a risk to the health and safety of workers.
Consult with your workers about what facilities are needed and any changes that may affect the adequacy of facilities.
You should also consult, co-ordinate and co-operate with any other duty holders if they are involved in the same activities or share the same workplace, eg another business which has an office in the same building as you.
- the nature of the work activities and types of hazards involved (eg do your workers need to change out of their clothes?)
- the size, location and nature of the workplace (eg is the work performed in a building or outdoors?)
- the number and composition of the workforce (eg do you have any workers with particular needs?)
Refer to Appendix A of the Managing the work environment and facilities - Code of Practice for a checklist to help you review the work environment and the adequacy of facilities provided to your workers.
You must provide your workers with access to adequate welfare facilities, including:
- clean drinking water
- clean toilets
- hand washing facilities.
Based on the location of your workplace, the size and composition of your workforce and the type of work you are doing, you may also need to provide:
- hygienic dining facilities
- accessible and secure personal storage
- showering facilities.
Remote or isolated work
Isolated work means work that is isolated from the assistance of other people - including rescue, medical assistance and emergency services - because of the location, time or nature of the work being done.
You must identify and manage the risks associated with any remote or isolated work. Risk means anything that may cause harm to workers or other people at your workplace.
This will involve you:
- identifying any problems (known as hazard identification) - exposure to violence and poor access to emergency assistance are the main hazards that increase the risk of remote or isolated work
- making an assessment of the risks (determining how serious the problems is)
- finding ways to control the risks (deciding what needs to be done about the problem).
You must prepare an emergency plan for your workplace that includes:
- emergency procedures
- testing of the emergency procedures
- information, training and instructions to relevant workers in relation to carrying out the emergency procedures.