Building awareness to understand organisation guidelines

BY Australian Retailers Association
18 December 2018

Team members play a very important role in workplace health and safety. That said organisations need to equip the team to ensure they understand all facets of workplace health and safety. Organisations can support the team by:

  • Helping them to understand organisational guidelines (policies and procedures)
  • Building awareness of legislation.
  • Communicating policy to ensure the team know what to do.
  • Involving Team members through consultation.
  • Training team members in all areas of WHS

Informing team members about health and safety ensures: The team have expertise and intimate knowledge regarding health and safety in the workplace. There is an opportunity to transfer ownership of solutions to those who will be most affected by them.

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Employers also have a legal obligation to supply relevant health and safety information to all team members, and this includes giving team members access to store policies generated in relation to store safety. Keeping information, posters, material safety data sheets (MSDS) and manuals, such as policy manuals, procedural manuals, and operating/instruction manuals, readily available around the workplace is also recommended.

Like other legal documents health and safety legislation can be difficult to read and interpret. To overcome this organisation, develop policies and procedures which outline the legislative areas that are applicable to the operation. Common organisational health and safety policies include but are not limited to: Drug and alcohol. Anti-discrimination and harassment. Bullying. Risk management. First aid. Emergency response. Manual handling. Equipment safety. Hazard reporting. Injury and incident reporting. Personal protective equipment. Health and safety records. Hazardous substances and dangerous goods.

Most retail organisations develop policy to ensure that safe working practices are part of everyday retail operations. These policies and procedures guide managers and other team members on health and safety requirements and actions relevant to the organisation’s operations. They are important and necessary because their aim is to keep the workplace safe and to prevent injury and other forms of harm to people.

Legislation provides guidelines that inform both organisational processes and team member conduct. Failure to comply with legislation may result in individuals or organisations facing penalties and/or fines. Legislation relating to health and safety is subject to change.Legislative requirements will include areas such as: Common law duties to meet general duty of care requirements and regulations and approved codes of practice relating to hazards in the work area.

Requirements for establishment of consultative arrangements including those for health and safety representatives, and health and safety committees. Other requirements include,effective management of hazards, provision of information and training including training in safe operating procedures, procedures for workplace hazards, hazard identification, risk assessment and risk control, and emergency and evacuation procedures.Most importantly, requirements for the maintenance and confidentiality of records of occupational injury and disease.

All policies and procedures relating to health and safety must be accessible to all employees. Policies and procedures may
be stored in paper or electronic format.

It is important to ensure that policies and procedures are communicated regularly at team meetings, particularly whenever
any changes are made. Best practice suggests each team meeting should focus on a different policy and procedure giving
the team an opportunity to refresh their understanding and practice their ability to meet the policy expectations.

About ARA Retail Institute

ARA Retail Institute is Australia’s leading retail training provider for both accredited and non-accredited learning programs. For more information, please visit: www.retailinstitute.org.au

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Australian Retailers Association

Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is Australia’s largest retail association representing Australia’s $310 billion sector, which employs more than 1.2 million people. As the retail industry’s peak representative body, the ARA works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 7,500 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.

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