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:
Schools that organise work experience placements for their students have special responsibilities.
The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development outlines the specific legal responsibilities schools have in relation to placing work experience students.
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.