What is a WHS Policy?
A WHS Policy (Workplace Health and Safety Policy) is the document that outlines your commitment to ensuring the health and safety of your employees and others in your workplace.
The goal of this policy is to achieve a safe and incident-free workplace. Having a good workplace health and safety policy and procedure in your business helps ensure risks are identified and managed appropriately.
Who can use this template?
- All types of business
- Suitable for all Australian states and territories
- Any business which wants to identify and manage risks in the workplace
- Any business that wants to document its commitment to ensuring employees’ health and safety in the workplace.
Do I need a WHS Policy?
Yes! Business owners have an obligation to provide a safe workplace for their workers and other people that interact with their business. Part of this duty is to identify and eliminate or reduce risks.
Having a workplace health and safety policy shows people the steps you’ve taken to achieve this. It also sets out clear guidelines for how your staff and others need to contribute to a safe workplace.
What does the WHS Policy template cover?
Our WHS Policy template covers:
- Manual handling – lifting and handling heavy items
- Slips, trips and falls – risks from poorly-lit areas, slippery surfaces, trip hazards etc
- Electrical safety – electrical appliances, power boards and power cords
- Ergonomic issues – height and alignment of desks, chairs, computer screens etc
- Working from home – procedures and rules for working from home
- Work-related travel – health and safety risk assessment if an employee is required to travel for work
- Injury procedure – what to do if there is an injury
- Smoking – non-smoking policy on business premises
- Evacuations – procedure for emergency evacuations
- Housekeeping – general rules and guidelines for safety
- Notices and signs – appropriately advising people of risks, hazards and safety information
How do I use a WHS Policy?
We recommend that you complete the following steps:
- Complete our WHS Policy template for your business, including all of the rules you want to set
- Conduct a regular audit of workplace health and safety in your business
- Provide the policy to all employees and require them to sign off on it
- Complete regular training and send reminders to all staff about their obligations
- Check your insurance policy to make sure you have adequate coverage.
What are my Employer Obligations?
You have an obligation as an employer to ensure workers’ health and safety. This duty extends to work that they complete remotely or from home. Having a Working From Home Policy can help you meet these obligations by providing safe work guidelines. We also recommend you have a WHS Policy to formally document the responsibility of employees and others in contributing to a safe workplace.
The COVID19 pandemic has forced many businesses to implement working from home arrangements for the first time and introduced new risks which you may have never faced or anticipated before.
It’s important to understand that employers may be liable for injuries and incidents sustained by workers in their homes even though they have little control over the home environment.
What are the Model WHS Laws?
In 2011, Safe Work Australia developed a single set of WHS laws to be implemented across Australia. These are known as ‘model’ laws. For the model WHS laws to become legally binding, the Commonwealth, states and territories must separately implement them as their own laws.
Safe Work Australia is responsible for maintaining the model WHS laws, but they don’t regulate or enforce them.
WHS regulators in the Commonwealth and each state and territory are responsible for regulating and enforcing the laws in their jurisdictions. The model WHS laws have been implemented in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, the Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and the Commonwealth. Some jurisdictions have made minor variations to ensure the legislation is consistent with their relevant drafting protocols and other laws and processes.
The model WHS Act forms the basis of the WHS Acts implemented in most jurisdictions across Australia.
The Act’s main objective is to provide a balanced and nationally consistent framework to secure the health and safety of workers and workplaces.
Is this WHS Policy template legal?
All of our templates have been drafted by qualified Australian lawyers who hold an Australian legal practicing certificate.
We are affiliated with a commercial law firm based in Sydney.