Starting a new business in Australia involves a lot of legal paperwork. Health and safety is a major consideration for every business, but even more so for those who work with chemicals, outdoors, with machinery, or in otherwise high risk environments.
I’d always recommend hiring a commercial lawyer to help you understand your health and safety requirements before you start a new business. Failing to do so can leave you open to prosecution and a large range of penalties.
With this in mind, here are a few important workplace health and safety considerations that you have to be aware of when starting a new business in Australia:
Understand That Every Industry Has Different Laws
Unfortunately, Australia’s health and safety laws vary according to industry. Different types of business will have significantly different health and safety rules to others, and it’s important to be aware of those which govern your industry.
Again, I’d recommend speaking about this with your local commercial lawyer. They should be able to advise you on the most important laws that you have to stick to. Alternatively, get in touch with Safe Work Australia to find out more.
Understand Basic WHS Laws
Although workplace health and safety (WHS) laws vary between industries and business types, there are a few blanket rules that you need to be aware of if they apply to your business. These include:
The requirement to provide a safe working environment – This means that your workplace can’t put any of your employees at risk of undue illness or injury, regardless of their job.
The requirement to assess risks and implement control measures – The exact way this rule manifests itself will depend on your industry. For example, if your business involves work in a noisy environment, you might have to either work to reduce the noise or issue personal protective equipment (PPE) to your employees.
Making sure substances and goods are handled and used safely – This rule is especially important when it comes to dangerous goods and hazardous materials.
Making sure all machines and materials used are safe and well maintained – The best way to do this is to perform regular maintenance checks on all machinery to make sure that it doesn’t pose and safety hazard.
Providing suitable facilities and working environments – This could extend between everything from making sure that toilets and safety showers are available to making sure people don’t work at heights without training and safety gear.
Making sure that you have workers compensation insurance – Workers comp insurance is essential because it gives your employees access to financial compensation if they do happen to injure themselves on the job.
Essentially, WHS is a crucial consideration when it comes to running a business. You need to be aware of the relevant laws that govern your industry, and you need to make sure that you’re following them. I’d recommend speaking to your lawyer to make sure that you’re not doing anything wrong.