Health and safety plan – how to proceed.
With the new health and safety legislation now introduced there is a lot more emphasis on those responsible for the workplace and workers to ensure that workplace is a safe place for everyone. While the new legislation does not specifically require PCBU’s to prepare a health and safety plan there are advantages in doing this to ensure that you comply with the requirements.
For smaller stables and breeders the plan may be quite simple and cover the critical points of the legislation listed below.
(2) Duties and responsibilities
The HSAW Act sets out a number of duties for PCBUs. The relevant duties for trainers who employ staff and who manage or control a workplace include:
1. A duty to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers who work for the trainer, while they are at work. (example training and induction, hazard identification)
2. A duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers whose activities in carrying out work are influenced or directed by the trainer, while the workers are carrying out the work. (example training and induction, PPE, H&S meetings,)
3. A duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the health and safety of other people is not put at risk from work carried out as part of the trainer’s business. (example induction of contractors and visitors , listed hazards and signage)
4. A duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the trainer’s workplace, the means of entering and exiting that workplace, and anything arising from the workplace, is without risks to the health and safety of any person. (example fences, signs, pathways, horse containment, hazard management and identification)
5. A duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that fixtures, fittings or plant at a workplace are without risks to the health and safety of any person. (example hazard management and identification, maintenance schedules, training and induction.)
“Workers” is widely defined to include employees, contractors, trainees and volunteers. “Workplace” is also widely defined to include any place where a worker goes, or is likely to be, while at work.
Developing a safe and healthy workplace makes good business sense. Your employees will feel more valued and visitors will be protected from harm. It’s likely to increase productivity and reduce the cost impact on your business of any downtime from employee injuries.
(3) How to prepare a H&S plan
Meet with your staff to identify all the hazards in your workplace. Since this is a continuous improvement cycle, you need to return regularly to the review step to monitor your planning and action steps, investigate any incidents that have occurred and review your injury management and emergency readiness. Any suggested improvements feed through to the planning step. A hazard planning template along with other suitable forms are available on the web site below.
A “hazard” is something that could harm you or someone else and can include the following:
• Activities – such as racing, trackwork, working at heights.
• Arrangements – storage of heavy items, work place set up.
• Circumstances – deadlines imposing a heavy work load.
• Events – transporting unstable heavy loads.
• Processes – mowing, spraying, maintenance.
• Behaviour – such as impairment through alcohol, drugs or fatigue.
• Situations – work place layout, dual use.
Step Two: Plan
1. Control Measures are actions taken after the risk assessment, to remove the identified hazard from the workplace. The control measures listed below are in order of preference for the resolution of a hazard in the workplace.
Elimination - Allows hazards to be designed out and control measures to be designed in. It will require a modification to the process, method or material to eliminate the risk.
Substitution - Replacing the material or process with a less hazardous one
Engineering - Redesigning plant or work processes to reduce or eliminate risk.
Administration - Adjusting the time or conditions of risk exposure (e.g. job rotation, increased supervision). Ensure staff members have received training, information and instruction regarding the particular hazards and Safe Work Method statements (SWMS) within the stables.
Personal Protective Equipment - Using appropriate safety equipment where other control measures are not practicable.
2. Appoint a staff member to be a H&S representative and arrange regular H&S staff meetings.
Step Three: Action
Map out your health and safety programme. Remember to assign responsibility for each required action, include a budget if necessary and set a timeframe for completion.
Commitment and communication
Two further key elements in the WorkSafe Cycle are commitment and communication. It’s important to get your whole team involved in health and safety. Commitment starts with you. If you don’t take health and safety seriously then why should others?
Open and honest communication throughout the cycle is vital to keep everyone involved and contributing to the health and safety improvement cycle.
(4) Accidents and Incidents
Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA) you must notify WorkSafe when certain work-related events occur.
A notifiable event is when any of the following occurs as a result of work:
• notifiable illness or injury, eg any injury requiring professional medical treatment;
• a notifiable incident, eg an accident that could have resulted in an injury that would have required professional medical treatment.
Use our Notifiable Event tool below to help you with understanding which events are notifiable, what you need to do and when, and how to notify WorkSafe.
Meet with your staff and identify all hazards in your workplace.
List all the hazards identified and prepare an action plan to control these.
Review this weekly at your staff health and safety meetings (remember hazards can change regularly).
Review all your H&S signs, are they adequate?
Ensure that all staff, visitors and contractors have suitable inductions.
Ensure staff training schedules are maintained.
List out notifiable events and the process to follow.
Maintain an incident register.
Contact your local WorkSafe representative and ask them to review your plan.
Common types of hazards
Use these notes to help you identify and assess hazards that might occur in your workplace.
Chemicals can affect the skin by contact or the body either through the digestive system or through the lungs if air is contaminated with chemicals, vapour, mist or dust. There can be an acute (immediate) effect, or a chronic (medium to long-term) effect from the accumulation of chemicals or substances in or on the body.
Excessive noise can disrupt concentration, interfere with communication, and result in loss of hearing. High impact noises are particularly damaging. Noise can also mask out signals, affecting communication or danger warnings.
Equipment such as radioactive gauging devices or the radioactive trace element used in analytical chemistry produce Ionising radiation. Non-ionising radiation covers infrared radiation (heat-producing processes), lasers, ultraviolet radiation (welding, sunlight), and microwaves (high-frequency welders, freeze drying).
These include the risk of injury from all forms of electrical energy. Such as the use of extension cords and electrical equipment in damp conditions or wet areas. Also be aware that extension cords can create trip hazards, they should be routed around high-traffic areas and should never be a long-term solution to a power supply problem
Inadequate lighting levels are a potential safety hazard. A common problem area is the reaction time needed for the eyes to adjust from a brightly lit to a darker environment — such as a forklift driver coming indoors from bright sunlight. Temporary lighting is often inadequate.
This includes whole-body vibration — for example, truck drivers, people standing on vibrating platforms, and operators of mobile equipment — and also more localised vibration effects from such equipment as hand tools, chainsaws, and pneumatic hammers.
Extremes of cold or heat can cause problems such as tiredness, vulnerability to infections or reduced capacity to work.
These include insects, bacteria, fungi, plants, worms, animals and viruses. For example horse’s environmental hazards include ringworm, leptospirosis, gastrointestinal and other skin infections. Biological hazards that arise from animals and zoonosis are infectious diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans.
Ergonomics (the ‘fit’ between people and their work) covers risk of injury from manual handling procedures, incorrectly designed desks or workstations, audio and visual alarms, and colour coding control mechanisms.
These include a wide range of injury risks— as diverse as being caught in or by machinery, buried in trenches or hurt by collapsing machinery. This category also includes the hazards from working in confined spaces, being hit by flying objects, falling from heights and tripping on obstacles.
Include stress, fatigue, the effects of shift work, and even assaults from other people.
Working with horses also involves dealing with hazards such as kicking, biting, being crushed or trodden on, falling off while riding.