WHS in corporate offices – practical or not?
Rose Training’s WHS hero Serge Rossignol discusses the white collar side of work health and safety.
I get asked all the time, “Is there really a need for WHS in a corporate office?” Well, my short answer is always the same; everyone has a duty of care for their own health and safety, the health and safety of their fellow workers and ultimately, at the end of the day, it’s the duty of care of the PCBU (Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking) to ensure the health and safety of all people.
Let’s just break it down to understand everyone’s roles and responsibilities here. No matter what your role or job title is, if you see a problem or a potential hazard, your first duty of care is to report it to the WHS person. A risk assessment should be conducted to ascertain the consequences of someone being injured and the likelihood of being injured. Then controls are put in place to ensure this potential hazard is addressed and doesn’t reoccur.
Take for example the following scenarios; a finance officer notices a carpet edge that has lifted near a commonly used walkway to the photocopier. She as assumes that the cleaner will sort it out or some other person in the office who usually does maintenance work. She ignores it and won’t bring it to anyone’s attention.
The next thing you know, another office worker has walked past, tripped on the carpet edging and has fallen. The potential injuries can add up significantly especially if this person sustains a head injury on the corner of a table or a doorway.
Another dangerous practice is to block access to basic firefighting equipment in an office. Fire blankets have to be visible and accessible in office kitchens or wherever hot ovens and stovetops are used. If something were to be placed on a recently used stovetop element by mistake, a fire blanket would smother this type of fire.
This is the same for stacking boxes in front of fire extinguishers and hose reels. They have to be accessible at any time. There are also heavy penalties imposed on businesses that breach these guidelines.
If Serge’s words have piqued your interest in the WHS side of things, why not enrol into one of Rose Training’s WHS courses before the end of 2013? Our WHS Diploma is starting on the 9th of December. Call us now to discuss!
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