Sunday, 8 June 2014

Occupational Health and Safety in the Office

It is the responsibility of management to provide a safe workplace and the responsibility of employees to work within safety guidelines. This will ensure that risks are reduced to an acceptable level.

            A code is not necessary a lengthy document. It should be written in plain language so that it is easily understood. The document is directed to one specific area of control, for example there would be one for handling dangerous chemicals and a separate one for handling dangerous chemicals and a separate one for noise control.

Areas covered in a code of practical should include:
  • Identifying the extend to which employers, supervisors and employees are responsible for safety
  • Listing specific work-related danger and health risks
  • Detailing ideal, safe working conditions
  • Providing protective clothing and equipment, if applicable
  • Providing for emergencies and first aid
  • Listing details of maintenance required
  • Providing training for staff
  • Monitoring medical and environmental issues
            Safety representatives will oversee that management is complying with the codes of practice.

Responsibilities of employer and employees


            Irrespective of the size and type of business being operated and employer has responsibilities under guidelines set out by the appropriate government.

            Employers can play a vital part in the prevention of accidents at work. Industrial accidents and illnesses lead to high staff turnover and additional training expenses. This causes disruption to staff/union and management relationships. To avoid productivity losses, an employer needs to be aware of safeguards for employees.

The legal responsibilities of an employer are:
  • To provide a safe and healthy place in which employer can work
  • To take out workers’ compensation insurance covering all workers, failure to do this results in a heavy fine
  • To establish a rehabilitation program to assist injured employees to return to work
  • To provide an accident record register in which details of all injuries are shown
  • To forward workers’ compensation claim forms and medical certificates to the appropriate insurance company as soon as possible


An employee has the right to:
·        A safe and healthy workplace
·        Compensation if he or she is injured in the workplace or if a sickness results from employment. This includes payment of wages, doctors’ and hospital bills
·        Assistance with rehabilitation to enable him or her to return to work.

            If an employee has any concern about working conditions, this should be indicated to the employer or union representative.

An employee should be aware of the following obligations and responsibilities:
  • If injured at work, the accident must be reported immediately
  • If a doctor’s assistance is sough and it is necessary for the employee to be off work, the doctor is required to fill in a medical clearance for the appropriate state authority
  • A workers’ compensation claim form is to be completed by filling out the basic details of the accident or injury. This form is available from the employer
  • Copies of all forms and certificates must be kept
  • To claim for sickness or injury at work, it is necessary to hand both the compensation claim form and the doctor’s certificate to the employer, who in turn has the responsibility to forward both forms to the insurance company.

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