Workplace Health and Safety in Queensland

Workplace Health And Safety: Queensland Details Four-Step Process For Managing Risks

When one person is careless at a construction site, whether it’s the delivery guy mishandling a chemical material or an electrician failing to wear protective gear, other people could be put in harm’s way. The gravity of such incidents at construction sites not only depends on the hazard itself but also on the skills of the workers themselves to manage the resulting risks. And this is precisely why companies, along with the government, require all employees who enter construction sites to be equipped with the knowledge and training to manage health and safety in the workplace.

Certification of proper training and awareness of health and safety in construction sites is accomplished with the white card (formerly known as the blue card in Queensland). The construction induction training may be achieved through an online or classroom course. But since ensuring safety is an ongoing process and learning should always be up-to-date, the Workplace Health and Safety (Queensland government, in particular) recently released a four-step process for managing risks. Below is a quick look at the critical actions to take.

Step 1. Identify Hazards

Hazards are situations that can cause potential harm, while risks are the possibility that harm may occur when you’re exposed to hazards. It’s important to monitor every task in the workplace to determine hazards because some are more difficult to spot than others. Properly recording injuries sustained, accidents, health issues, and even near misses also help to identify hazards in any construction site. When this is done, the appropriate risk control measures may be developed and implemented.

Step 2. Assess the Risk

Risk assessment is mandatory for high-risk activities: high-risk construction, live electrical work, confined spaces, etc. Risk assessment should also be done when changes in the workplace can impact the effectiveness of control measures; when there is uncertainty about whether the hazard could result in injury or illness, and when activities involve different hazards and there is little to no understanding as to how each hazard might interact with one another.

Step 3. Control the Risks

Controlling risks is ranked according to the highest level of protection and reliability to the lowest. The Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) requires the persons who conduct a business or undertaking (PCBU) to work through this hierarchy of control in managing risks; this entails eliminating hazards.

When hazard elimination isn’t practicable, the PCBU must minimise risks by: substituting the hazard with something that creates lesser risk, by implementing engineering controls, and by isolating the hazard from workers who are exposed to it.

Step 4. Reviewing Risk Controls

Changes are inevitable in every workplace, which is why the WHS regulation requires review of control measures to make sure that these still work for most situations. Procedures and control measures have to be reviewed frequently, especially for serious risks so that when a problem is identified, it immediately gains attention and the corresponding solution is applied.

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