Management Obligations for Health and Safety

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Some organizations will provide only the minimum level of care required by law.

But many others provide an enhanced degree of care for example, subsidized health checks. Moreover, a survey revealed how much people appreciate managers who truly care about their well-being. A more robust level of care can make a team feel valued and engaged, and lead to improved productivity, engagement and commitment. Failure to provide an effective duty of care for your employees can cause serious reputational damage, as well as put your organization at risk of legal punishments and potential lawsuits..

Many organizations develop their own duty of care policies. If your organization is considering doing this, here are a few steps to follow:. There is no single, universally-accepted interpretation of "duty of care.


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Your first action should be to seek legal advice to ensure that your organization complies with all the required legislation. Then you can explore what enhanced options to introduce. For example, healthcare provision. Take Your Career to the Next Level! Explore what the concept of "duty of care" means to the people in your team.

Ask what they need and want from you in order to feel safe, supported, and able to do their jobs well.

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You can also do this across your business to help you build an organization-wide manifesto, that establishes three or four guiding principles for an acceptable level of duty of care. Ask yourself what you already do to keep your team members safe.


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You may find — based on your organization's compliance with regulatory frameworks, as well as its own definition of duty of care, and feedback from employees — that you already do enough. If so, great! If not, consider what measures you need to implement to do so. For instance, offering flexible working to help people have a better work-life balance. Also, think about the people in your team who might require a particular level of care and support.

For example, those with disabilities, or lone workers. How can you ensure that they have equal protection, opportunity, and access to help? Establish and share who is responsible for what type of care, and in what situations. For example, who is responsible for ensuring fire regulations are adhered to, and regular fire evacuation checks are carried out?


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Your team members may have a duty of care toward their co-workers to communicate potential risks such as when travelling to certain places in the world , and to ensure particular policies are enforced. Be sure to establish clear, specific procedures to follow if team members want to raise concerns, or to offer suggestions about any issues relating to a duty of care. Once you've thought about these issues, you can start listing your ideas for a duty of care policy, and working out how you'll be able to fulfil your obligations. Also, consider where you might meet resistance, such as concerns over costs, time to implement, and possible interference with work schedules.

Providing a duty of care should not be seen as an exercise in dealing with red tape and implementing required regulations. Instead, it should be seen as a positive and important part of ensuring the overall health, safety and well-being of your people, and enjoying the benefits that come with that.

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Legal obligations regarding a duty of care exist in many places, such as the U. In others, particularly the less developed ones, there are none, and working environments can be much less safe as a consequence. If you want to provide a higher level of care to your workers, first check that you are fulfilling your legal obligations.

Health and Safety Resource Centre

Then, ask people what they need, and consider what you already offer before deciding on any new measures. This site teaches you the skills you need for a happy and successful career; and this is just one of many tools and resources that you'll find here at Mind Tools. Subscribe to our free newsletter , or join the Mind Tools Club and really supercharge your career! Expert Interviews Audio Forums Infographics.

Management Obligations for Health and Safety

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Responsibilities and obligations - The Centre for Occupational Safety

Seven reasons why strategically managing your health and safety processes will improve your bottom line. Protect yourself and your business — maintain a thorough understanding of your legal obligations Keep your workplace safe and productive by identifying and resolving issues through defined systematic processes Work Health and Safety Obligations Employers are required by legislation to provide a working environment that is safe and as free as possible from health risks, including psychological as well as physical risks. Line Management Responsibility Line managers are responsible for a specific area of your company, including WHS within that area.

Objectives should be specific, achievable and measurable, including: outcome-based objectives eg, a reduction in the number of manual handling injuries.

Introduction to Health and Safety at work

Management Representative Any manager who represents your company for WHS needs to have the appropriate level of authority and competence required by the legislation. More specifically, workers must: take reasonable care for their own health and safety take reasonable care for the health and safety of others who may be affected by their actions in the workplace co-operate if the PCBU needs them to do something to comply with a legislative requirement not intentionally or recklessly interfere with or misuse anything provided at the workplace in the interests of health, safety or welfare inform their company of any allergies or medical conditions that may impact on their health and safety Functional Responsibility for WHS Last but not least, all workplaces should have a manager or managers appointed who are specifically concerned with WHS — for example a WHS manager, WHS advisor, human resources manager, etc.

General advice warning The information on this site is of a general nature only. How to capture business benefits from a culture of consultation 1 min read. Overwhelmed by the plethora Acts, Regulations, and Codes? Productively resolve health and safety issues 2 min read.