Work Health And Safety – Knowing Your Responsibilities At The Workplace 

Employees spend a great majority of their waking lives at the workplace. As such, this greatly exposes them to risks and hazards that cannot be encountered elsewhere. This is the reason why both employees and business owners must put a premium on work health and safety, not only in relation to the physical wellbeing of a person, but also in relation to mental health. 

Risks and hazards refer both to substances and behaviours which can harm a person at the workplace. These can refer to toxic chemicals, and in the construction sector, falling debris and improper use of machinery. 

Stressing the need for awareness of safe practices, minimising risks and hazards, and keeping up with changes in the workplace, the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 came into effect on January 1, 2012, effectively replacing and updating the Occupational Health and Safety acts of the previous years. 

The major difference of this act from its previous iterations is its goal to harmonise the work and safety laws across Australia’s states and jurisdictions which, prior to the enforcement of the act, differed one way from another across different places. For business owners, particularly those operating in more than one area, this means complying with a single set of rules and regulations, effectively lessening costs. 

The act tackles several important issues. Most important of these is the need for the active participation of all stakeholders, from the workers to employees to unions, to actively work together to promote health and safety at the workplace through information, use of safety equipment and good work practices. 

In the construction sector, safety and health at the workplace is promoted through various practices and requirements including the requirement of a White Card or Occupational Health and Safety Certificate for those who work in construction. This includes labourers, apprentices, supervisors and project managers. A White Card can be obtained through either online or face-to-face training. 

Getting a White Card is not merely a mandatory requirement. It will teach those seeking employment in the construction industry to understand the various concepts involved in occupational health and safety as well as their responsibilities in promoting these. 

Should a worker without a White Card be found working in a job site, both the worker and the employer will be fined heavily. But apart from the economic cost, working without a White Card increases the likelihood of injuries and accidents both for the worker and for those who are around him. 

Author Bio

Sarah Miller is a business consultant by profession and a content creator, writer and blogger by passion. Having been exposed to the different aspects and faces of businesses, she frequently does research on useful information regarding the different methods and techniques to further improve business marketing, sales, performance and shares her passion of business management through blog/content writing.  She wrote this article for