WHS Law: Reasonable Care
Under Work Health and Safety law, all workers must take “reasonable care” for their own health and safety and take reasonable care that their acts or omissions do not adversely affect the health and safety of other persons. But what does this mean?
According to lawyer, James Mattson, who spoke at The Safety Conference Sydney 2012, “…reasonable care requires workers to genuinely think about safety in their work and to ask themselves, on an ongoing basis, ‘Am I performing this particular task as I have been trained, in accordance with all safety instructions and procedures and in a manner that is otherwise safe for me and others?’”.
Whilst Officers of the company have additional obligations under Work Health & Safety (WHS) laws, all managers and supervisors have this ‘reasonable care’ duty just like any other worker. However, their influence is greater and therefore so is the expectation. Individuals who control work must ensure that safety is planned and deadlines do not put people at risk.
“The duty to take reasonable care also requires a worker to speak up if they see any unsafe work practices. A degree of being proactive is required, and being proactive on safety is not just ticking the box by attending training and signing off on safe work method statements. ‘Reasonable care’ means showing real care about safety,” Mattson said.
Organisations must ensure that safety is a core component of how work is done. There must be a continued focus and constant checking. Mattson identified auditing as a key tool in achieving this. WHS audit “not only identifies gaps but also sends a message to workers management that safety must not be ignored.”
OSHEM Solutions provides a range of services including WHS audits, legal compliance checks, workplace inspections and risk management. We can also coach your management on what they need to do to meet their obligations and demonstrate safety leadership. Contact us on 1300 657 279 for more information.