WHS Manual

ManualsThe Work Health and Safety Manual is a key element of compliance under each state WHS laws. Any person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) is required to demonstrate commitment to the health and safety of the workplace.

This starts with having a Plan in place and approved by management at the highest level. This is supported by a standard set of Safety Policies and Procedures relating to your workplace which become an agreement for employees and contractors to adhere to whilst working.

The policy is a general plan of intent which guides or influences future decisions. It is the basis upon which measurable objectives and targets are developed.

The policy is a written step by step instruction on how something is expected to be done. A safety policy is a written instruction on how things should be done in order to meet legal obligations relating to safety and providing a safe workplace, and is stipulated by code or practice or legislation – such as AS4801 or Sections of the Work Health Safety Act.

The WHS Policy states how workers and visitors are expected to behave when at the workplace or performing work-related activities. Under the WHS Act, Persons Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) are required to have in place, policies that communicate a safe way of working.

Another component of the WHS Manual is a Procedure Manual outlining practices in accordance with the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011. The manual provides important information on procedures to follow to ensure compliance with WHS regulations.

The WHS Emergency Plan is a written set of instructions that outlines what workers and visitors should do in an emergency. Persons Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) must ensure that an emergency plan is prepared for the workplace, including for workers who may work at multiple

Any workplace in Australia may be subject to a safety audit, where things like risk assessment, hazards, safe work method statements, written records, completed forms and workplace environments may be checked. Having a WHS Manual in place and up to date is no guarantee of compliance but will be one of the first documents any auditor or inspector will ask to see. Not having one is likely to be signal for the audit to move into more serious territory. It is worthwhile regularly updating your safety policies and procedures to the latest legislation.

A WHS Manual does not have to be an expensive investment. Basic written WHS Manuals are available that a small business can adapt to suit their needs with minimal work. The key is have a WHS Manual that is up to date and shared with all staff. A systematic approach to compliance will ensure the PCBU has procedures in place to monitor and evaluate OHS performance, to determine the effectiveness of risk management, and if necessary take preventative and corrective action. Always review and continually improve your WHS documentation, with the objective of improving performance and building and maintaining a safety culture.

About the Author

Safety Concepts is an online resource providing up to date insights and covering issues in the field of Workplace Safety.

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