OHS compliance checklists

For several months some Australian OHS regulators have been providing “Compliance at a glance” checklists. These are not intended to establish compliance, particularly in the small business sector as listed on one regulator’s website , but are more brief indicators of areas for greater improvement.

Nevertheless the items listed in the “red zone” of the checklists establish a benchmark of NON-compliance. These items are listed below:

  • No clear understanding of safety responsibilities.
  • No time or money allocated to meet safety responsibilities.
  • Safety not a priority.
  • No safety initiatives.
  • Manager/s set a poor safety example.
  • No consultation arrangements in place.
  • No involvement of workers in safety issues.
  • Workers views not valued nor taken into account.
  • Tasks with safety risks not identified nor the risk controlled.
  • No safe work procedures developed.
  • Responsibility for doing tasks safely left to workers.
  • Workers not inducted.
  • No safety training provided.
  • Workers not made aware of safety issues.
  • Ability of workers to do tasks safely is not checked.
  • No safety supervision.
  • No reporting procedures.
  • Incidents not reported.
  • No review of work practices following an incident
  • No workers compensation insurance policy.
  • No return to work program or plans
  • Workers not assisted to return to work after an injury.

The items above are the bare minimum compliance issues and many of these will take substantial effort to rectify. The various websites employ the “traffic light” categorisation with many of the challenges coming in the “amber zone” where a business operator may know of their OHS deficiencies but are unsure of how to progress.  One Australian OHS regulator has provided some positive control measures with “12 ways to make small businesses safer“.  Significantly no psychosocial hazards are listed in this document but a positive is that the guide does not distract the reader into the amorphous areas of establishing a safe work culture.

The checklists do list the “green zone” issues of compliance and the focus on negatives in this article above may reveal a safety professional’s approach of looking at the negatives instead of the positives but a minimum standard is required in all things and it is only when we establish non-compliance can we improve. In this era of “reasonably practicable” compliance, it is useful to have some clarity on what not to do.

Kevin Jones

reservoir, victoria, australia

5 thoughts on “OHS compliance checklists”

  1. It\’s gotta be time to bite-the-bullet. The wish-fulfilment approach – that people will apply some sort of system to how they look after safety because that\’s the only sensible way to do it – well, that\’s not working, particularly it seems, in the small business area…………….

    The rest of Col Finnie\’s comments are in the article – Regulating The Great Leap Forward (Into The Bleeding Obvious)

  2. Hi Kevin – keep the excellent articles coming, especially as harmonisation looms! I see that WHS as a term is slowly creeping in and may well replace OHS sooner rather than later. That is what Barry Sheriff was hoping for at his recent Safety In Action presentation. Just wondering what your thoughts are on the \’amorphous\’ safety culture. The best organisations I have worked for had it (sometimes without realising) and it was up to the Safety Manager and workers to define, live and breathe it.

    If you take the view that the only true hazard in the workplace are people and everything else is a by-product of people then safety culture has to be front and centre?

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