Skip to main content
Safe Work

Safe Work Australia – are you aware of your responsibilities?

The Health Industry

According to Safe Work Australia, people who work in health care and social assistance, including nurses, doctors, allied health professionals and other support staff may be exposed to hazards from:

  • the type of work they do;
  • where they work; and
  • the people they work with

Common hazards

Safe Work Australia lists common hazards in health care and social assistance as including:

  • Manual handling from lifting, supporting and moving people and repetitive tasks
  • Chemical and biological hazards
  • Medical equipment such as lasers and x-rays
  • Workplace violence
  • Bullying and harassment
  • Mental health due to stress
  • Fatigue and shift work
  • Falls, slips and trips

Who is responsible, and what are they responsible for?

For the health care and social assistance sector, Safe Work Australia lists the following stakeholders as having specific duties in terms of Work Health and Safety regulations. These are:

  • A person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU)
  • A principal contractor
  • A designer, manufacturer, importer, supplier and installer of plant, substances or structures
  • An officer

PCBUs must, as far as is reasonably practicable, anywhere where workers are working (e.g. hospital, a patient’s home, a vehicle travelling between work sites), must:

  • Ensure the health and safety of workers and others
  • Consulting with workers and those who are likely to be directly affected by a health and safety matter
  • Coordinate with all other duty holders
  • Provide and maintain a work environment that does not post physical and psychological risks to health and safety
  • Give workers the information, training, instruction and supervision required for safe work

Managing risks

Safe Work Australia states that the PCBU must identify hazards, manage the associated risks as far as is reasonably practicable, and ensure that the measures put in place remain effective. They provide information on control measures for hazards such as lifting, supporting and moving patients, in an effort to prevent injuries including work related repetitive strain injuries.

Further information

The Commonwealth, states and territories regulate and enforce WHS laws in their jurisdictions. Contact for further information.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *