According to the WHS Act, organisations are legally obligated to protect both their employees’ physical and psychological health. In other words, just as organisations must do what is reasonably practical to eliminate and reduce the risk of physical hazards, the same must be done for psychological hazards.
When it comes to workplace health and safety, risk management involves identifying potential hazards, assessing the risks of those hazards and putting appropriate control measures in place to eliminate or reduce the risks. The work doesn’t stop there however. After control measures have been implemented, every workplace has an obligation to do their best to make sure they remain effective and to review them on an ongoing basis.
In the workplace, organisations are required to manage hazards and risks by putting the appropriate control measures in place. Legally, under WHS Regulations, "risks must be controlled by eliminating them so far as reasonably practicable, or if this is not possible, reducing the risks that remain so far as reasonably practicable" (Source: WorkSafe Australia). This means that health and safety managers, or anyone who is responsible for making sure a business is in compliance with these regulations, must determine what is reasonably practicable to protect people from harm.
A critical step to creating a safe and healthy workplace is understanding the nature of risks, the harm that hazards could inflict on your employees and the likelihood of those hazards actually occurring. When managing workplace health and safety (WHS), this is considered the risk assessment phase and takes place after potential hazards have been identified.
Managing health and safety is a must in every workplace. No matter the industry, a work environment can present multiple hazards that could inflict ill health, injuries or even have the potential to kill. If incidents do occur, they could have a dramatic impact on people's lives (their colleagues, family and overall wellness) as well as negative implications for organisations through loss of staff and reduced production. This is why employers not only have legal obligations to protect their employees, but it also makes good business sense.