By law, employers must provide a safe working environment for their workers, so far as is reasonably practicable. In addition to protecting the safety of your workers, you also must ensure that other people (such as drivers, visitors and the general public) are not exposed to risks as a result of your business.
Furthermore, if you manage or control a workplace you are responsible for ensuring, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the area you control or manage is safe and without risks to health. This duty extends to entrances and exits, and it applies to your employees as well as the general public.
- you must eliminate any risks to health and safety, so far as is reasonably practicable
- if it's not reasonably practicable to eliminate the risks, you must reduce them so far as is reasonably practicable.
Under Victorian OHS laws, employers are also responsible for the health and safety of all workers, including labour hire personnel or contractors, at their workplace. If you are a host employer with labour hire workers you must treat labour hire workers and other contractors the same as your own workers – provide and maintain a safe working environment and conditions.
If you store dangerous goods (substances that are flammable, explosive or toxic), you must comply with a range of specific legal requirements.
You also have specific duties in relation to hazards such as:
- hazardous manual handling
- confined spaces
- plant and machinery
- high risk work (e.g. forklift operation)
- hazardous substances and materials.
From 30 June 2008, persons operating forklifts on farms will be required to hold a Licence to Perform High Risk Work. For more information refer to New licensing system for high risk equipment.
Contact the WorkSafe Advisory Service on 1800 136 089 or visit www.worksafe.vic.gov.au for more information on your duties relating to specific hazards and licenses to perform high risk work.
If your worker has a work-related injury or illness, you have duties under the Victorian workers compensation legislation, one of which is to ensure their safe return to work. The employer's obligations include:
- appoint a return to work coordinator
- develop and implement a return to work plan
- support and monitor your worker when they return to work.