What to expect when your worksite is inspected
To put it simply, health and safety regulators work with you and your subbies to keep you safe and healthy. So, what should you expect when they come a-knocking?
When they arrive, they will tell the person in charge of the site why they are there and their reasoning typically falls under three categories:
- You work in a high-risk industry
- Someone has reported unsafe working conditions
- There has recently been an incident
To help you make improvements, there are a few things they may do including:
- Give you useful and practical advice on how to fix any health and safety issues they find
- Give you or a specific employee written instructions about what needs to be done and by when
- Give you a written notice telling you to stop doing something that they believe poses a serious threat to health and safety on your site. This notice will specifically outline what needs to be fixed or changed before you can recommence that activity.
Once they have completed their visit, you will be given a report outlining what they’ve done and accompanying documents, i.e. photos, documents, or other items that they will be taking with them. However, if the inspector finds serious health and safety infringements on-site they may make further investigations and prosecute.
So what exactly are health and safety inspectors allowed to do?
They are allowed to enter your site during working hours or if there is an immediate risk to the health or safety of a person. They have the right to ask questions, take photos, recordings, and measurements, take items away for testing or examination, take samples, make copies or remove documents, and call in others to assist them including technical experts, interpreters, or police officers.
Health and safety inspectors also have the ability to review a Provisional Improvement Notice (PIN) issued by a health and safety representative and affirm, modify or cancel it, review a worker’s decision to stop work due to safety concerns, and if there has been an incident they have the right to give you a non-disturbance notice to keep the scene of the incident as it. If you do disagree with the inspector’s decision you are able to apply for a review.
New on-the-spot fines for Victoria
Earlier this year we sat in on a WorkSafe Victoria briefing covering the new on-the-spot fines which will be coming into play as of the 31st of July 2021. On-the-spot fines are already in play across the rest of Australia and the most important thing to know is that there aren’t any changes to your OHS duties and obligations. If you’re doing what you should be to keep everyone on your site safe, you’ll be right as rain.
The fines can be issued by health and safety inspectors if they feel there has been a clear breach of OHS legislation. However, they may choose to issue a notice rather than a fine depending on the severity of the issue. These fines can be issued to individuals as well as organisations and range from $350 up to $1850.
Stay on top of your game with these tips to nail your health and safety:
No licence. No work.
It’s basic but needs to be said. Make sure that everyone on your site has the appropriate license which they carry with them. You should keep a copy of the licences and make sure they aren’t expired.
Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS)
All high-risk construction work activities require a SWMS to be completed and signed off. Make sure that everyone involved understands the hazards and controls. Always ensure that the work is supervised or monitored in an appropriate way.
Another easy one! Make sure that you have a hazard board at the site’s entrance and that all of the details are clearly visible. Plus make sure that gates, fencing and site security are in place and maintained.
Use a licensed Asbestos removalist at all times to avoid any issues. It may cost a bit more but will be so much easier to manage in the long term.
Site-specific safety plan
Have a site-specific safety plan in place that everyone on-site has read and understands. You’ll need to have it available for inspection at any time.
Using HazardCo can cut the time you spend on health and safety admin in half, and will guide you through what you need to do on-site to keep your crew and your business safe.
Of course if there are any questions or concerns, just call us at HazardCo for help.