Lesson 9: Health and Safety

In everyday life, your health and safety is one of the most important things you should look after. So it almost goes without saying in the business world, health and safety should likewise be a top priority. It’s just as important as say, finance and marketing, when it comes to the successes and failures of any company. Regardless of your industry, accidents can always happen. Of course, some fields present more of a risk than others, but my point is there needs to be clear procedures in place for workplace health and safety.  

The health, safety and welfare of your employees, contractors and clients are essential to your service delivery. So why am I going on about the importance of health and safety? It’s because every tender you respond to will request information on your health and safety procedures. Yes, you need them and no, you can’t avoid answering the questions. 

Tender Tip

The principal OHS law in Victoria consists of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (VIC), supported by the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 (VIC). This legislation applies in all Victorian workplaces. 

It is reasonably consistent with the national model of Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) legislation that applies in most other jurisdictions. 

Despite the overall similarity with many of the provisions of the WHS legislation, if you’re operating in Victoria’s OHS legislation, you should check for specific health and safety requirements. 

Find out about the appropriate acts, legislations and regulations for your business.   This will depend on your location and the products and services you offer. 

What is a Health and Safety Management System? 

Put simply, a Health and Safety Management System is a methodology used to address health and safety within a company. Basically, it’s a system that manages the implementation of health and safety procedures in your business. This system should be designed in a way that obeys legislation, including:  

  • Policies addressing the commitment of the organisation to implement health and safety procedures in the workplace 
  • Documented accountabilities, roles and responsibilities 
  • Document control and review 
  • Communication and consultation strategies 
  • Supervision, which ensures workers are not placed at risk 
  • Training and induction programs 
  • Registers and records 
  • Documented safe work method statements and procedures 
  • Purchasing control 
  • Risk assessment addressing processes for identification of hazards, assessment of risk levels, and control methodologies 
  • Hazards, near misses, incidents and accidents reporting, recording, investigation and analysis 
  • Monitoring, measurement and evaluation of a work Health and Safety Management System  
  • Specific workplace health and safety programs 
  • Management review of a Health and Safety Management System, including internal auditing and external auditing 

With these procedures and systems in place, you can then address specific healthy and safety issues within your organisation. No matter the size of your company or the products and services you offer, in today’s marketplace, it’s essential you have in place an effective Health and Safety Management System.  

Activity

Use health and safety policy template provided to customise to your business and your brand.  (Template is available for download from the Module 5 downloads lesson.)

Health and Safety Certification 

In some industries, it’s required you have a health and safety certification. Just like the quality assurance certification, a healthy and safety certification is a sizeable investment and you will need commitment from your entire business to ensure its success.  

Activity

Get to know your industry and what health and safety systems or certifications are required. If you operate a high risk business, you will need to have a system in place – ASAP!  

When responding to a tender, let the evaluators know if you hold any external certifications such as ISO: 4801, Safety Map, NSCA 5-Star System, Construction Policy Steering Committee, and the level of certification for your Health and Safety Management System (if you have been accredited). 

Tender Questions 

If the tender you’re responding to asks about your health and safety systems, you’ll need to answer, no matter what products or services you offer.  

Common Health and Safety Questions 

Oftentimes companies and governments use standard templates for their tenders. When responding to such tenders, you may find some questions aren’t always relevant to your business and its products and services.  

Tender Tip

It’s easy to say you have implemented health and safety policies and procedures. However, it’s important to provide evidence to support this.  

I recommend that you provide a copy of your Occupational Health and Safety Management System and/or Policies and Procedures Manual. If the document quite large, at a minimum, provide a copy of the manual’s Table of Contents.  

Health and Safety Offences 

It’s often the case that tender submissions will ask for details about any occupational health and safety offences you may have been prosecuted for. It’s absolutely vital you list any that are relevant to your company. Attach details of any prosecution for health and safety offences in any state or commonwealth jurisdiction. 

If you have not had any offences against your organisation, make a statement to this affect.