What Are the Duties of Employees Under the OHS Act 2004 (Vic)?
Occupational Health and Safety Act The Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHS Act) is the main workplace health and safety law in Victoria. It sets out key principles, duties and rights about OHS. To secure the health, safety and welfare of employees and other persons at work. On 1 July , the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Act came into effect. The reforms to the Act are aimed to make WorkSafe a more constructive, accountable, transparent and effective regulator, and are the cornerstone of legislative and administrative measures to improve occupational health and safety.
The reforms to the Act are aimed to make WorkSafe a more constructive, accountable, transparent and effective regulator, and are the cornerstone of legislative and administrative measures to improve occupational health and safety. Good safety, they say quite rightly, is good for the community and good for business. Work-related deaths, injuries and illness have tragic effects on workers, their families, workplaces and community.
Workplaces and working arrangements have changed a great deal since the introduction of the Occupational Health and Safety Act The legislation needed to be modernised to reflect these changes. The review found that while the Act had served Victoria well and was basically sound, reforms were needed to make it work better and to meet the needs of workplaces today and into the future.
Maxwell recommended changes to the OHS legislation and the way WorkSafe, as the regulator, operates to reduce injury, disease and death in Victorian workplaces. The reforms aim to create safer and healthier workplaces by:. Further Information: If you have any further queries regarding the changes, it may be useful to contact the WorkCover Advisory Service directly — info worksafe.
Most sections of the new Act came into effect on 1 July However, please note two important later developments: A duty of employers to consult with employees. Came how to see all 150 pokemon in diamond effect on 1 January The duty of employers to consult is one of the most significant changes introduced by the Act.
Under the new Act, from 1 January employers are required to consult with all employees who are, or are likely to be directly affected by proposed changes to the workplace that may affect their health and safety.
New duties of designers of buildings or structures. Comes into effect on 1 July Why these changes? What will the reforms do? The reforms aim to create safer and healthier workplaces by: modernising the language and layout of the Act, making it easier to understand providing greater clarity and certainty about the obligations of duty holders fostering increased participation by employers, employees and their representatives in workplace health and safety issues promoting fairness, consistency and transparency in the enforcement of the legislation, and bringing penalties broadly into line with other jurisdictions.
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Occupational Health and Safety Act Act in force. Act number / Version. Summary of the Occupational Health and Safety Act A handbook for workplaces Duties and rights under the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act. OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY ACT TABLE OF PROVISIONS PART PRELIMINARY 1. Purposes 2. Objects 3. Commencement 4. The principles of health and safety protection 5. Definitions 6. Act binds the Crown PART THE AUTHORITY Division General functions and powers 7. Functions of the Authority 8.
Occupational safety and health OSH , also commonly referred to as occupational health and safety OHS , occupational health ,  or occupational safety , is a multidisciplinary field concerned with the safety , health , and welfare of people at occupation. The goal of an occupational safety and health program is to foster a safe and healthy occupational environment. In common-law jurisdictions, employers have a common law duty to take reasonable care of the safety of their employees.
As defined by the World Health Organization WHO "occupational health deals with all aspects of health and safety in the workplace and has a strong focus on primary prevention of hazards. It aligns with the promotion of health and safety at work, which is concerned with preventing harm from hazards in the workplace. The definition reads:. The concept of working culture is intended in this context to mean a reflection of the essential value systems adopted by the undertaking concerned.
Such a culture is reflected in practice in the managerial systems, personnel policy, principles for participation, training policies and quality management of the undertaking. Those in the field of occupational health come from a wide range of disciplines and professions including medicine , psychology , epidemiology , physiotherapy and rehabilitation, occupational therapy , occupational medicine , human factors and ergonomics , and many others.
Professionals advise on a broad range of occupational health matters. These include how to avoid particular pre-existing conditions causing a problem in the occupation, correct posture for the work, frequency of rest breaks, preventive action that can be undertaken, and so forth. Given the high demand in society for health and safety provisions at work based on reliable information, occupational safety and health OSH professionals should find their roots in evidence-based practice.
A working definition of evidence-based practice could be: evidence-based practice is the use of evidence from literature, and other evidence-based sources, for advice and decisions that favor the health, safety, well-being, and work ability of workers. Contextual factors must be considered related to legislation, culture, financial, and technical possibilities.
Ethical considerations should be heeded. The research and regulation of occupational safety and health are a relatively recent phenomenon. As labor movements arose in response to worker concerns in the wake of the industrial revolution, worker's health entered consideration as a labor-related issue. In the United Kingdom , the Factory Acts of the early nineteenth century from onwards arose out of concerns about the poor health of children working in cotton mills: the Act of created a dedicated professional Factory Inspectorate.
However, on the urging of the Factory Inspectorate, a further Act in giving similar restrictions on working hours for women in the textile industry introduced a requirement for machinery guarding but only in the textile industry, and only in areas that might be accessed by women or children. In a Royal Commission published its findings on the state of conditions for the workers of the mining industry that documented the appallingly dangerous environment that they had to work in and the high frequency of accidents.
The commission sparked public outrage which resulted in the Mines Act of The act set up an inspectorate for mines and collieries which resulted in many prosecutions and safety improvements, and by , inspectors were able to enter and inspect premises at their discretion.
Otto von Bismarck inaugurated the first social insurance legislation in and the first worker's compensation law in — the first of their kind in the Western world. Similar acts followed in other countries, partly in response to labor unrest. Although work provides many economic and other benefits, a wide array of workplace hazards also known as unsafe working conditions also present risks to the health and safety of people at work. These include but are not limited to, "chemicals, biological agents, physical factors, adverse ergonomic conditions, allergens, a complex network of safety risks," and a broad range of psychosocial risk factors.
Physical hazards affect many people in the workplace. Biological hazards biohazards include infectious microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria and toxins produced by those organisms such as anthrax. Biohazards affect workers in many industries; influenza , for example, affects a broad population of workers. Dangerous chemicals can pose a chemical hazard in the workplace. There are many classifications of hazardous chemicals, including neurotoxins, immune agents, dermatologic agents, carcinogens, reproductive toxins, systemic toxins, asthmagens, pneumoconiotic agents, and sensitizers.
There is some evidence that certain chemicals are harmful at lower levels when mixed with one or more other chemicals. This may be particularly important in causing cancer. Psychosocial hazards include risks to the mental and emotional well-being of workers, such as feelings of job insecurity, long work hours, and poor work-life balance. Specific occupational safety and health risk factors vary depending on the specific sector and industry.
Construction workers might be particularly at risk of falls, for instance, whereas fishermen might be particularly at risk of drowning. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics identifies the fishing , aviation , lumber , metalworking , agriculture , mining and transportation industries as among some of the more dangerous for workers. Construction is one of the most dangerous occupations in the world, incurring more occupational fatalities than any other sector in both the United States and in the European Union.
Health and safety legislation in the construction industry involves many rules and regulations. For example, the role of the Construction Design Management CDM Coordinator as a requirement has been aimed at improving health and safety on-site. Among all U. Agriculture workers are often at risk of work-related injuries, lung disease, noise-induced hearing loss, skin disease, as well as certain cancers related to chemical use or prolonged sun exposure.
On industrialized farms , injuries frequently involve the use of agricultural machinery. The most common cause of fatal agricultural injuries in the United States is tractor rollovers, which can be prevented by the use of roll over protection structures which limit the risk of injury in case a tractor rolls over. The NHIS-OHS found elevated prevalence rates of several occupational exposures in the agriculture, forestry, and fishing sector which may negatively impact health.
These workers often worked long hours. As the number of service sector jobs has risen in developed countries, more and more jobs have become sedentary , presenting a different array of health problems than those associated with manufacturing and the primary sector. Contemporary problems such as the growing rate of obesity and issues relating to occupational stress , workplace bullying , and overwork in many countries have further complicated the interaction between work and health.
On the other hand, potentially harmful work organization characteristics and psychosocial workplace exposures were relatively common in this sector. The mining industry still has one of the highest rates of fatalities of any industry. In surface mining, leading hazards include such issues as geological stability,  contact with plant and equipment, blasting, thermal environments heat and cold , respiratory health Black Lung  In underground mining operations hazards include respiratory health, explosions and gas particularly in coal mine operations , geological instability, electrical equipment, contact with plant and equipment, heat stress, inrush of bodies of water, falls from height, confined spaces.
According to data from the NHIS-OHS, workers employed in mining and oil and gas extraction industries had high prevalence rates of exposure to potentially harmful work organization characteristics and hazardous chemicals. About two-thirds were frequently exposed to vapors, gas, dust, or fumes at work.
Healthcare workers are exposed to many hazards that can adversely affect their health and well-being. According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, U. The OSHS program produces three annual reports:.
In , an estimated 14, workers were killed on the job — by , the workforce had doubled, but workplace deaths were down to about 4, The Bureau also compiles information about the most dangerous jobs.
According to the census of occupational injuries 4, people died on the job in A total of 5, workers died from a work-related injury in the U. The fatal injury rate was 3. About 2. Both the number of injuries and illnesses and the rate of these cases declined from In most countries males comprise the vast majority of workplace fatalities. In the UK there were fatal injuries at work in financial year —, compared with in calendar year ; the fatal injury rate declined over that period from 2. One of the decisions taken by Communists during the reign of Stalin was the reduction in the number of accidents and occupational diseases to zero.
After the destruction of the USSR, the enterprises became owned by new owners who were not interested in preserving the life and health of workers. They did not spend money on equipment modernization, and the share of harmful workplaces increased.
Therefore, in the s the Ministry of Labor adopted the Federal law FZ, which equated the issuance of personal protective equipment to the employee to real improvement of working conditions; and the Ministry of Health made significant changes in the methods of risk assessment in the workplace. Specialists from the Izmerov Research Institute of Occupational Health the oldest in the world analyzed information about the health status of workers and the assessment of their working conditions using the new methods of risk assessment.
Their findings show that new "methods" do not provide a real picture of working conditions. This is most clearly shown by the results obtained at enterprises producing aluminum. But the reduction of the level of harmful factors at these enterprises did not happen at all; and the proportion of workers suffering from chronic intoxication with fluorine compounds was Source [R 1]. In the opinion of the state inspector, the use of punishment against the guilty manager disqualification, ban on executive work is too rare: "The practice of court decisions shows that disqualification of the leader is possible, but for this he or she must kill employees, or more".
In the Netherlands, the management system Safety Certificate Contractors combines management of occupational health and safety and the environment. ISO was published in March and implemented in March OHSAS comprised two parts, OHSAS and and was developed by a selection of leading trade bodies, international standards and certification bodies to address a gap where no third-party certifiable international standard existed.
Occupational safety and health practice vary among nations with different approaches to legislation, regulation, enforcement, and incentives for compliance. In the EU, for example, some member states promote OSH by providing public monies as subsidies, grants or financing, while others have created tax system incentives for OSH investments. A third group of EU member states has experimented with using workplace accident insurance premium discounts for companies or organisations with strong OSH records.
In Australia , the Commonwealth, four of the six states and both territories have enacted and administer harmonised Work Health and Safety Legislation in accordance with the Intergovernmental Agreement for Regulatory and Operational Reform in Occupational Health and Safety. In Canada , workers are covered by provincial or federal labour codes depending on the sector in which they work.
Workers covered by federal legislation including those in mining, transportation, and federal employment are covered by the Canada Labour Code; all other workers are covered by the health and safety legislation of the province in which they work. The act was based on the belief that all Canadians had " In the European Union , member states have enforcing authorities to ensure that the basic legal requirements relating to occupational health and safety are met.
In many EU countries, there is strong cooperation between employer and worker organisations e. Member states of the European Union have all transposed into their national legislation a series of directives that establish minimum standards on occupational health and safety.
These directives of which there are about 20 on a variety of topics follow a similar structure requiring the employer to assess the workplace risks and put in place preventive measures based on a hierarchy of control. This hierarchy starts with elimination of the hazard and ends with personal protective equipment.
However, certain EU member states admit to having lacking quality control in occupational safety services, to situations in which risk analysis takes place without any on-site workplace visits and to insufficient implementation of certain EU OSH directives. Based on this, it is hardly surprising that the total societal costs of work-related health problems and accidents vary from 2. In Denmark , occupational safety and health is regulated by the Danish Act on Working Environment and cooperation at the workplace.
In the Netherlands the laws for safety and health at work are registered in the Working Conditions Act Arbeidsomstandighedenwet and Arbeidsomstandighedenbeleid. Apart from the direct laws directed to safety and health in working environments, the private domain has added health and safety rules in Working Conditions Policies Arbeidsomstandighedenbeleid , which are specified per industry.
This inspection service investigates industrial accidents and the service can suspend work when the Working Conditions Act has been violated and impose fines. Companies can raise their security levels by certifying the company with a [VCA-certificate Safety, Health and Environment. All employees have to obtain a VCA-certificate too, with which they can prove that they know how to work according to the current and applicable safety and environmental regulations. The main health and safety law in Ireland is the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act ,  which replaced earlier legislation.