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Safety at work is everyone’s responsibility.

In South Australia, the phrase ‘Workplace Health and Safety (WHS)’ refers to the laws and principles concerning workplace safety.

It also concerns the welfare of workers. WHS legislation and regulations impose strict requirements on organisations and workers for WHS compliance.

WHS legal requirements in South Australia

South Australian laws require that all organisations do everything that is reasonable to ensure the safety of its workforce, including volunteers. Safety includes both mental health as well as physical health.

The laws also require that individual workers take reasonable steps to protect their own safety as well as the safety of their workmates.

The laws outline requirements for codes of practice, workplace policies, safety manuals, induction, and training. Other specific safety precautions apply to particular industries.

If a person is injured because of a breach of the law, that person’s employer is at risk of being severely penalised.

It’s crucial to prioritise any WHS issues and, when they arise, seek our legal assistance as soon as possible.

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Employer WHS responsibilities

Employer responsibilities for WHS will depend on the type of work performed, where it’s performed, the risks of the work, and what can be done to avoid those risks.

In general, organisations are required to:

  • provide and maintain a safe work environment
  • provide and maintain safe plant, equipment and work systems
  • provide and maintain worker facilities such as toilets and first aid
  • provide sufficient information, training and supervision to avoid risks
  • keep workers safe

This means that organisations must be able to identify and assess risks, control or reduce those risks and review control measures.

Notification of WHS incidents

South Australian WHS laws require organisations to notify Safework SA when there’s been a serious event that relates to the organisation’s work.

In some circumstances, Safework SA will investigate the incident. Penalties can be severe, so it’s essential that you know and understand your rights and the rights of your organisation. If your organisation has experienced a WHS incident, contact us urgently for advice and representation.

Frequently asked questions

Occupational health and safety, or OHS, is now known as WHS.  This means that WHS and OHS are the same.

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