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Workplace health and safety

Who is responsible and why?

The responsibility for workplace health and safety ultimately belongs with employers. They have a duty of care for the health, safety and wellbeing of all workers under their control.

Why is it the employer's responsibility?

Employers, their board members or senior leaders are the ‘decision-makers’ within an organisation and therefore held accountable for the decisions they make. The expectation is that employers will adequately support and resource health and safety within the workplace to ensure the safety of its workers.

In terms of safety, a practical example could be an occupational safety and health (OSH) professional proposing a new piece of equipment to better protect workers from hazards. The ‘decision-makers’ will then decide whether to accept the risk as it is or to allocate resource to reduce or eliminate the risk with a new piece of equipment.

What are an employer's responsibilities for health and safety?

While the employer has overall responsibility for health and safety in the workplace, that does not discount everybody else having a part to play in managing health and safety. All workers, whether they be managers, supervisors or general operatives, are required to meet the expectations of the employer. Expectations can range from attending training and following policy and procedure to reporting accidents, incidents and near misses.

One issue many employers have is the attitude of some workers thinking “it’s not my job”. To overcome such a barrier, employers should actively promote the concept of health and safety being everybody’s job. This can help establish a culture of everybody working together with the same goal.

What can you do as an employee?

To develop an overall understanding of health and safety, we have of range of training courses that cover the fundamentals.

What can you do as an employer or decision-maker?

We have an executive education range of training courses that complement your business needs. They include:

  • Leading Safely – for responsible leaders who recognise the importance of safety and health. You can learn its true value in just five hours.
  • Corporate Governance - explores ways in which occupational safety and health can be integrated into an organisation’s existing corporate governance arrangements.
  • Corporate Risk Essentials - equips CEOs, board members and executive directors to understand, plan and implement a risk management culture as part of your organisation’s governance.

Get help from an OSH professional, either in-house or via a consultant through the Occupational Safety and Health Consultants Register (OSHCR).

  • Visit OSHCR
  • Managing Safely
  • Leading Safely
  • Managing Sustainably