For staff and visitors of the clinic this Workplace Health and Safety SharePoint Hub will provide a detailed and current guidance for your WHS needs.
WHS Roles and Responsibilities
As the primary duty holder, MAT Health Clinic (MCH) being the PCBU must ensure so far as is reasonably practicable the:
- provision and maintenance of a safe work environment;
- provision and maintenance of safe equipment and structures;
- provision and maintenance of safe systems of work;
- safe use, handling and storage of equipment, structures and substances;
- provision of accessible and adequate facilities (for example access to washrooms, car parking, ramps);
- Provision of appropriate safety equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE)
- provision of any instruction, training, information and supervision;
- monitoring of workers health and conditions at the workplace and
- maintenance of any accommodation owned or under their management and control to ensure the health and safety of workers occupying the premises.
Workers must take reasonable care for their own health and safety while they are at work, and take reasonable care that their acts or omissions do not adversely affect the health and safety of other persons. They must comply, so far as they are reasonably able, with any reasonable instruction given by the Practice Manager, as well as co-operating with any reasonable policy or procedure which relates to workplace health and safety. On a day to day basis, this includes:
- Take reasonable care for their own health and safety
- Follow safe work procedures, practices, instructions and rules
- Participate in safety training
- Use safety equipment and personal protective equipment as instructed
- Identify WHS issues in the workplace
- Identify and report infection related risk factors
- Carry out risk assessments using a Risk Assessment Form
- Take action to minimise or eliminate risks in the scope of their role
- Conduct workplace inspections
- Participate in WHS consultation meetings
- report all known hazards, accidents and incidents as soon as possible.
What are Work Groups?
Work Groups are groups of workers who share similar WHS concerns and similar work conditions.
How are Work Groups formed?
Work Groups are formed so that workers can be represented about WHS concerns. The Work Groups do not need to be based around a physical location. The work groups are formed by negotiation and agreement between the PBCU(employer) and the workers. Work groups may be formed by groups of workers who have similar job roles, activities or functions but who may be located across multiple sites or locations. Similarly, a work group may be formed by workers who perform varying job roles, activities or functions but all are located at a single site. A work group may be formed for workers who identify as having specific risks or concerns, such as those who work in remote locations, workers performing shiftwork or those exposed to a specific hazard or risk.
Why are Work Groups needed at MHC?
Work Groups are required so that workers (as a group) can determine the most appropriate way for MHC to consult about WHS concerns or matters. As Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) and Health and Safety Committees (HSCs) are formed to represent a specific Work Group everyone needs to be clear about what Work Group/s exist, who is part of each Work Group and what WHS consultation arrangements have been agreed for a particular Work Group.
WHS consultation options available to Work Groups once they are formed include;
• Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs)
• Health and Safety Committees (HSCs)
• Other agreed arrangements
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Consultation and Communication
Open communication between workers and managers is important to ensuring a safe workplace. Therefore, workers are encouraged to:
- ask questions relating to WHS
- bring up safety concerns
- make recommendations regarding WHS
- give regular feedback
- become involved in evaluation of safety issues
- participate in any WHS related problem solving process.
It is important that workers help shape decisions about WHS particularly when:
- Identifying hazards and assessing risks
- making decisions about ways to eliminate or minimise those hazards or risks
- proposing business changes that may affect the health and safety of workers
- purchasing of new equipment or substances
- developing or changing job tasks or safety procedures.
Why is consultation important?
MAT Health Clinic has a key legal duty to consult workers about health and safety.
A safe workplace is more easily achieved when everyone involved in the work communicates with each other to identify hazards and risks, talks about health and safety concerns and works together to find solutions. This includes cooperation between duty holders, the people who manage or control the work and those who carry out the work or who are affected by the work.
By drawing on the knowledge and experience of staff and other workers, MHC can make more informed decisions about how the work should be carried out safely.
Effective health and safety consultation also has other benefits:
- greater awareness and commitment—because workers who have been actively involved in how health and safety decisions are made will better understand the decisions
- positive working relationships—because understanding the views of others leads to greater cooperation and trust.
When do we need to consult?
We consult with workers when:
- managing work health and safety risks
- deciding on welfare facilities
- making decisions and changes affecting work health and safety
- developing work health and safety procedures
Regular consultation is better than consulting only as issues arise on a case-by-case basis because it allows you to identify and fix potential problems early.
Taking a safety moment can be as simple as spending five minutes every morning talking with your team about the hazards and risks in your workplace, and how to prevent harm.
We use signs that draw attention to safety issues. For example, if employees work with equipment, all machines should have a label warning about potential injuries. You may also want to place signs on doors, reminding employees to close doors behind them; signs on wet floors; or signs indicating areas of the building that require special safety clothing or items like gloves and safety glasses.
We train employees in safety. In addition to regular training at least once a year, we hold a safety training workshop to draw attention to potential safety concerns in our workplace and remind employees to be safe.
We encourage our workers to adopt healthy behaviours. For example, smoking cessation and weight loss group. Our company-wide healthy challenge is a great motivator.
We have a staff vaccination and wellness program.
How consultation works here?
Consultation with workers can be undertaken in various ways. It does not need to be a formal process and can be as simple as talking to them regularly and considering their views when making health and safety decisions.
Consultation can also be undertaken through our health and safety committee.
- Work Health and Safety Consultation, Cooperation and Coordination Code of Practice – practical guidance for employers on how to effectively consult with workers.
- First aid is the immediate treatment or care given to a person suffering from an injury or illness until more advanced care is provided or the person recovers.
- First aid officer (FAO) is a person who has successfully completed a nationally accredited training course or an equivalent level of training that has given them the competencies required to administer first aid.
MAT Health Clinic has in place the following first aid procedures, as required by First Aid in the Workplace Code of Practice
- The appointment and training of First Aid Officers (FAO)
- The provision of first aid kits within the workplace
- Clear signage with the name of the FAO and the location of the first aid kits
First Aid Officer Training:
- The minimum level of training for a FAO is the Senior First Aid Certificate (or equivalent)
- Refresher training should be undertaken every three years.
First Aid Officer Responsibilities:
- The FAO is approved to render first aid assistance in the workplace.
- The FAO should ensure that they do not administer first aid services beyond their level of training.
- A record of any first aid treatment given should be kept by the FAO and reported to the Station Manager on a regular basis to assist with reviewing first aid arrangements.
To view First Aid in the Workplace Code of Practice Click Here
Emergencies are situations where there is an immediate threat to the safety of people and property that require immediate attention.
Correctly identifying a workplace emergency situation is vital to being able to respond appropriately and quickly. An emergency is a situation that:
- Threatens employees, patients or members of the general public
- Disrupts or completely shuts-down facility operations
- Causes physical and/or environmental damage
You can find information on MAT Health Clinic’s Emergency Procedures here.
There are four things you should remember in an emergency:
- Stay calm and keep yourself safe – avoid becoming part of the emergency!
- Try to keep yourself and others away from the danger area
- Alert people nearby and enlist their aid
- Contact help
There are many different types of emergency situations. We have emergency codes to help quickly identify the emergency situation and how to quickly deal with it. The Emergency codes include:
Blue – Medical Emergency
Black – Personal Threat
Red – Fire Emergency
Brown – External Emergency
Yellow – Internal Emergency
Purple – Bomb Threat
Orange – Evacuation
A further description of the codes, what action needs to be taken and a description of each of the codes can be found under our Emergency Procedure here.
Concerning and threatening behaviour
We take the wellbeing of staff very seriously. Should you feel concerned or threatened at any time there are a number of ways you can report this.
Concerning behaviours is where you are worried or concerned about a person’s actions or choices. It could be something obvious like sexual harrassment or theft. It could also be something less obvious like unwanted attention or any other behaviour that is worrying and inappropriate e.g. revealing inappropriate knowledge of personal information.
Threatening behaviour is when you are fearful or feel that imminent physical danger to yourself or others is likely. Obvious threats could be an uttered threat to kill, harm another or damage property, an uttered threat to self-harm or suicide or any act of physical violence, production of a weapon etc. Not so obvious threats could be stalking, bullying, angry or aggressive communications.
For urgent support, each of the consulting rooms and the reception desk have a duress alarm. In addition, should staff be concerned for their immediate safety, they can dial 999 on the phone system which automatically generates an auto-email to all staff alerting them that there is an immediate safety concern.
For all non-urgent support, please report any concerning or threatening behaviours via our incident report.
Suspicious behaviour that should be reported to your supervisor immediately include:
- Unauthorised attempts to gain access to the building or storage facilities
- A person who is present in the building without a valid reason to be there
- Prolonged loitering or repeatedly driving within the parking area without an apparant reason
- Unauthorised attempts to gain entry to MAT Health Clinic’s IT systems
- Taking video, recordings, photos, diagrams or note sin or around the building
- Impersonating the identity of a staff member
- Unauthorised removal of items or equipment from the medical practice
- Repeated non-compliance with staff requests
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Personal protective equipment is special equipment you wear to create a barrier between you and germs. This barrier reduces the chance of touching, being exposed to, and spreading germs.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) helps prevent the spread of germs in the hospital. This can protect people and health care workers from infections.
Types of PPE
Wearing gloves protects your hands from germs and helps reduce the spread of germs.
Masks cover your mouth and nose.
- Some masks have a see-through plastic part that covers your eyes.
- A surgical mask helps stop germs in your nose and mouth from spreading. It can also keep you from breathing in some germs.
- A special respiratory mask (respirator) forms a tight seal around your nose and mouth. It may be needed so that you do not breathe in small germs like tuberculosis bacteria or measles or chickenpox viruses.
Eye protection includes face shields and goggles. These protect the mucous membranes in your eyes from blood and other bodily fluids. If these fluids make contact with the eyes, germs in the fluid can enter the body through the mucous membranes.
Clothing includes gowns, aprons, head covering, and shoe covers.
- These are often used during surgery to protect medical staff and the patient.
- They are also used to protect you when you work with bodily fluids.
- Visitors wear gowns if they are visiting a person who is in isolation due to an illness that can be easily spread.
Medical staff may need special PPE when handling some cancer drugs. This equipment is called cytotoxic PPE.
- medical staff may need to wear a gown with long sleeves and elastic cuffs. This gown should keep liquids from touching their skin.
- They may also need to wear shoe covers, goggles, and special gloves.
Choose the Right PPE
You may need to use different types of PPE for different people and situations. Our workplace procedures include instructions about when to wear PPE and what type to use.
Ask your supervisor how you can learn more about protective equipment.
After You Use PPE
Remove and dispose of PPE safely to protect others from being exposed to germs. Before leaving your work area, remove all PPE and put it in the right place. This may include:
- Special laundry containers that can be reused after cleaning
- Special waste containers that are different from other waste containers
- Specially marked bags for cytotoxic PPE
MANUAL HANDLING is an activity that is simply part of everyday life; it cannot be avoided
so we must do our best to make sure that we are using the safest techniques possible to
A manual task is any activity that requires a person to use force to grasp, manipulate, strike, throw, carry, move, hold or restrain an object, load or body part. This can be as simple as using a keyboard and mouse, and as complex as using specialised machinery.
Manual tasks include tasks that have repetitive actions, sustained postures and may involve exposure to vibration. The types of injuries related to manual handling include repetitive strain injuries, muscle injuries, tendon and ligament injuries, bone injuries and injuries from falling objects.
Manual handling hazards are managed at MHC by a risk management process in order to prevent or minimise the risk of injuries caused by manual tasks. The process involves conducting a risk assessment on manual tasks carried out in the workplace, working out how to address any problems, choosing and implementing appropriate solutions, and following up to check that the solutions work.
Preventing injury while performing manual tasks
- decide what changes can be made to reduce the risks of injury. If possible, select permanent changes (such as workplace layout, tools and equipment)
- avoid double handling of items
- provide mechanical aids (hoists)
- redesign the task (such as rotating workers)
- provide training if new equipment is introduced.
View the Smart Lifting Poster here.
Further guidance can be found in the MAT Health Clinic Manual Handling Procedure here.
WorkSafe Queensland provides additional comprehensive information on manual task-related injury and how to avoid it.
Infection control procedures relating to good personal hygiene include:
- hand washing – the spread of many pathogens can be prevented with regular hand washing. Thoroughly wash your hands with water and soap for at least 15 seconds after visiting the toilet, before preparing food, and after touching clients or equipment. Dry your hands with disposable paper towels
- unbroken skin – intact and healthy skin is a major barrier to pathogens. Cover any cuts or abrasions with a waterproof dressing
- gloves – wear gloves if you are handling body fluids or equipment containing body fluids, if you are touching someone else’s broken skin or mucus membrane, or performing any other invasive procedure. Wash your hands between each client and use fresh gloves for each client where necessary
- personal items – don’t share towels, clothing, or other personal items.
Infection control procedures relating to cleanliness in the workplace include:
- regularly washing the floors, bathrooms and surfaces( such as tables and bench tops) with hot water and detergent
- periodically washing the walls and ceilings
- thoroughly washing and drying mops, brushes and cloths after every use – drying mops and cloths is particularly important, since many pathogens rely on moisture to thrive
- using disinfectants to clean up blood and other spills of bodily fluids
- when using disinfectants – always wearing gloves, cleaning the surfaces before using the disinfectant, and always following the manufacturer’s instructions exactly
- spot cleaning when necessary.
Infection control procedures relating to clinical and related waste
Hazard Identification and Risk Management
Hazards usually arise from:
- The physical work environment
- equipment, materials and substances used
- work tasks and how they are performed
- work design and management.
Incident records and investigations, near misses, health monitoring and inspection results all all help identify hazards. We consult with workers and systematically analyse all tasks to help identify any potential hazards. Team members can assist with identifying hazards by:
- Conducting regular workplace inspections by walking around the area making observations
- Performing Risk Assessments when necessary
We encourage hazard reporting and ask all employees to
- Report all injuries and incidents using an Incident Report Form
- Complete a Hazard Identification Form
- Verbally report the hazard to a supervisor
- Attend WHS Consultative meetings.
How to Manage Work Health and Safety Risks Code of Practice – practical guidance for people who have duties under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and Regulations 2011 to manage risks to health and safety.
Risk Management: A Snapshot (PDF, 126.0 KB) – key things to consider when managing work health and safety risks.
Preventing harm and injury at work – includes information on biological, chemical, ergonomic and physical hazards and how to manage risks in the workplace.
WHS Policy and Codes of Practice
- Health and Wellbeing Policy
- Stress Management Policy
- Infection Control Policy
- Safety Signage Procedures
- Manual Handling Procedures
- Ergonomic Policy and Procedure
- PPE Policy
- Emergency Response Procedure
- Hazard Reporting Step by Step Procedure
Codes of Practice
State/Territory WHS Laws & Regulators
WHS legislative framework is a set of guidelines for employers to use to help them provide safer workplaces for their employees. Each state has its own WHS laws and a regulator to enforce them. The WHS framework for each state includes the:
- Act – outlines your broad responsibilities.
- Regulations – set out specific requirements for particular hazards and risks, such as noise, machinery, and manual handling.
- Codes of practice – provide practical information on how you can meet the requirements in the Act and Regulations.
- Regulating agency (regulator) – administers WHS laws, inspects workplaces, provides advice and enforces the laws. Check their website for WHS information and resources.
In some states there is a different regulator for workers’ compensation.
Other Legislation we comply with
As a business there are a number common legal laws we must follow:
Environmental protections: Federal, state and local governments jointly administer the environmental protection laws in Australia. As a business we need to understand and comply with the below laws and how they apply to us.
Legislations and standards
Public health risks
Clinical and Related Waste
Employment laws: We have a legal obligations to pay employees the correct wages and to have workers’ compensation insurance for each employee. We must also comply with any working with vulnerable people or children requirements and abide by work health and safety (WHS) regulations and codes of practice. The Fair Work Act 2009 (FW Act) and the Fair Work Regulations 2009 are the main legislation. They provide a safety net of minimum entitlements, enable flexible working arrangements and fairness at work and prevent discrimination against employees.
Anti Discrimination Laws: In Australia, it is unlawful to discriminate on the basis of a number of protected attributes including age, disability, race, sex, intersex status, gender identity and sexual orientation in certain areas of public life, including education and employment. Australia’s federal anti-discrimination laws are contained in the following legislation:
- Age Discrimination Act 2004– external site
- Disability Discrimination Act 1992– external site
- Racial Discrimination Act 1975– external site
- Sex Discrimination Act 1984– external site.
Anti-bullying laws: Bullying at work occurs when a person or group of people, repeatedly behave unreasonably towards a worker and put the worker’s health or safety at risk. Harassment and bullying in the workplace has legal risks.
Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) is the principle that everyone can have equal access to employment opportunities regardless of attributes such as race, gender or sexual orientation, without fear of discrimination or harassment. EEO in Queensland is protected by the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (Qld).
All employees have the right to be treated equally in all aspects of their job and should be available in all areas of employment including recruitment, job allocation, promotion and access to all benefits and opportunities.
Training and Induction
The health and safety training you are required to complete can depend on your:
- role at MAT Health Clinic
- work activities
- previous experience and training.
Work Health and Safety Induction
Emergency and Evacuation
Risk Assessment Training
Work Health and Safety Officer Training
Work Health and Safety Representative Training
First Aid and CPR Training
Handle Hazardous Substances
Training Needs Analysis
Work Health and Safety Committee
Work injury and illness management
Injury and illness prevention
MAT Health Clinic is committed to fostering a workplace culture that promotes positive health and wellbeing. Injury and illness prevention is a conscious effort to prevent and/or reduce the severity of an injury or illness before it occurs.
A range of injury and illness prevention initiatives are offered by the Work Health and Safety committee, including:
October is National Safe Work Month, a month dedicated to bringing education and awareness programs to workplaces, to improve safety standards across Australia.
REPORT AN ACCIDENT, INCIDENT OR HAZARD
Useful Workplace Health and Safety Websites
In Queensland, WorkSafe Queensland and WorkCover have a huge range of resources, including industry and ambassador films, downloadable posters, and eTools, such as a basic heat stress calculator and a hazardous manual tasks assessment tool, plus much more. We particularly like their ‘Your Story’ films, as they share some tear-jerking, real-life moments to get staff thinking about the real consequences of safety at work.
Safe Work Australia (SWA) is an Australian government statutory body which develops national policy relating to WHS and workers’ compensation. As a resource for employers, you can search for safety resources by topic, or by industry or business type. These resources also include snapshots of statistics and research that’s easy to find. For instance, by quickly choosing the safety topic, Bullying, you will find:
- a simple overview, including a snapshot of relevant statistics,
- links to the relevant Codes of Practices and Guides,
- Reports and Case Studies; and
- Videos, Seminars and Podcasts.
Business Queensland has straightforward resources covering:
- how to keep a workplace safe,
- how and when to report an incident,
- WHS licences required in Queensland,
- The relevant laws and regulations,
- Plant registration requirements in Queensland, and
- Electrical safety obligations.
These resources are useful for employers looking to understand their obligations and create policies for their businesses, however, the resources themselves aren’t as engaging for a WHS improvement campaign for staff.
OHS Alert is a subscription platform, which provides a plethora of latest news and resources regarding workplace health and safety in Australia. These updates are a useful resource for understanding issues facing businesses across the country, including case law updates, plus learn what’s working from the success stories shared. OHSAlert has a free trial option too.