Manage risks in the workplace
The ‘person conducting a business or undertaking’ (PCBU), who is usually the employer, must manage risks to health and safety by eliminating risks as much as is reasonably practicable.
Those responsible for preventing and managing risks include:
- the self-employed
- principal contractors
- anyone who manages or controls a workplace
- importers and suppliers of plant, substances or structures that are used at work.
This applies to all types of work and all workplaces that are covered by the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act).
Managing work health and safety risks within a workplace involves the elements of governance, prevention, response and recovery.
Governance is the framework, procedures, policies and processes that organisations use to manage work health and safety duties, functions and operations.
One of the primary duties of a PCBU is to:
- develop organisational work health and safety policies
- define key work health and safety roles and responsibilities
- address obligations to consult
- define arrangements for working with Comcare.
Developing a culture that promotes workplace health and safety also belongs in this category.
For more information, see workplace health and management system or our risk management snapshot (PDF, 187.9 KB).
Prevention is always better than cure! At the centre of an effective preventative system is compliance with work health and safety obligations and stopping hazards entering the workplace.
Having policies and procedures to effectively manage risks and hazards allows an organisation to identify and resolve hazards before they cause injury or illness to workers.
Strategies to prevent physical hazards and ergonomic hazards include:
- promoting health and safety in workplace design
- conducting work health and safety audits
- analysing safety data
- providing or attending work health and safety training and education
- setting up mandatory internal hazard reporting
- developing and following hazard specific policies and procedures.
Organisations should consider psychosocial hazards in the same way as other health and safety hazards and risks. A commitment to preventing psychosocial hazards in the workplace should be included in health and safety policies.
The first Comcare Prevention Strategy 2022-2025 (PDF, 4.8 MB) is available for all workplaces in the Comcare scheme.
If a safety incident takes place, the organisation must take steps to remove the hazard that caused the incident. It should also implement changes to stop the incident from happening again.
Your organisation’s response documentation must include information on:
- incident investigation
- incident notification requirements
- emergency preparedness and response
- first aid policies and procedures.
When a worker is ill or injured, the employer has responsibilities under both the Safety Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 and WHS Act.
These responsibilities are usually addressed by a rehabilitation management system that manages workplace injury or illness.