The Australian government boasts of taking the safety of workers very serious, which is why there is a legislation mandating emergency preparedness across all sectors of society. For instance, there are Fire Safety requirements, covered by many pieces of legislation, Regulation, Australian Standards, reference guides and codes applicable to various jurisdictions across Australia.

Note that when it comes to emergencies, nothing beats being prepared with the proper mindset, training and equipment. However, since we can’t really predict when an emergency situation or a disaster will occur, it becomes imperative to take on an attitude of preparedness so as not to waste precious time and energy when it matters the most.

The Compliance framework of Legislation, regulations, codes and Australian Standards is meant to ensure that all buildings, structures and workplaces meet safety requirements, not only for the protection of the property but more importantly the occupants. It is important to note that the primary concern of all is life over property. Your emergency planning and communication needs to be clear and framed simply.

Owing to the amount of time we all spend in the workplace, it is only advisable that occupants are provided with the same guarantee of health and safety at work as they are at home. The Australian Standard 3745 explicitly states out the guidelines for the well-being of occupants in workplaces is shared between the employer, the building owner and the building management company.

Regulations and Australian Standards that Govern Emergency Management is designed with the objective of ensuring occupants’ safety before, during and after an emergency situation. Not only does it aim to keep people safe in the facilities, it also strives to further enhance safety measures by providing a framework for emergency planning, and by ensuring that ongoing maintenance and skill retention activities are correctly conducted.

Each state has different requirements when it comes to emergency planning obligations of building owners, managers and occupiers. Therefore, the building owners, managers, and occupants themselves are expected to be familiar with the policies and regulations necessary for them to exercise proper emergency safety. Below is a rundown of the most important requirements and contents of the Australian Standards for Emergency Control.

Requirements and Content of the Australian Standards for Emergency Control

  1. Australian Standards Model Work Health and Safety Bill

The Australian Standards Model Work Health and Safety Bill, also known as the WHS Act, is the ideal template especially in terms of governing policies over the different Australian jurisdictions. Notably, there will be some variations in application and interpretation of certain sections, depending on the state or territory implementing it, but at the very least, there is a set guide that should serve as the benchmark for all other versions.

According to reports, the Australian Standards WHS Act was completed, with revisions, in June of 2011. However, it does not automatically mean that it was implemented across board. Note that for it to be officially and legally binding, the local Parliament of each jurisdiction is expected to give its approval.

Meanwhile, the complete model of the Australian Standards WHS Act includes the definition of terms, including “persons conducting business” and “workplace”. These may seem rather elementary, but any legislation that strives to apply rules correctly needs to be as accurate as possible to avoid loopholes.

Nonetheless, the major duty of care and who it belongs to is also addressed, along with risk management ideas. Indeed, the Australian Standards WHS Act also lists the different categories (total of three) of offences and their respective penalties. Exceptions to the general rules are also identified for clarification.

  1. Australian Standards Occupational Health and Safety Laws

Just like the Australian Standards WHS Act stated above, the Australian Standards OH&S includes requirements that are helpful to business owners especially because it could keep them from incurring reputational or financial damage to their business.

Note that each time a workplace injury occurs, it is not only the worker that’s affected by it; a section, if not the entirety of the operation gets held up to make way for investigations and other matters, especially if a complaint is filed. However, with the Australian Standards work health and safety laws in place, business owners are advised to take preventive measures, instead of waiting for an accident to happen before acting upon it.

Have it in mind that a safe workplace environment, adds to the credibility of a business. And aside from the fact that a business that abides by safety regulations tend to be more appealing to workers, it will also be staying out of trouble with the government and its insurer.

Also do not forget that a business’ reputation will ring out beyond the walls of the workplace. Poor working conditions, once it spills out to the public, can negatively affect its performance in the market, especially if it is limited within the very community in which the business operates.

  1. Australian Standards Safety Laws Codes of Practice

Just like it was stated earlier, the implementation of the Australian Standards WHS Act largely tends to depend on the approval of the local Parliament. Note that those states that have yet to ratify this bill into an act are not necessarily going to be penalised, although they are, still expected on the national front to have their safety regulations in place.

Have it in mind that these codes may not be as precise and detailed as the model Australian Standards WHS Act, but at the very least, they should be implemented as a form of security and protection for the workers. As defined by the government: “Codes of Practice provide advice on how to meet regulatory requirements. Codes are not legally enforceable, but they can be used in courts as evidence that legal requirements have or have not been fulfilled.”

In conclusion, mentioned above are just some of the helpful tools that the government of Australia provides to spread further education and knowledge about Australian Standards work health and safety laws. Legislators hope that these rules will be followed strictly so that Australia may achieve its goal of having all companies fully compliant with workplace environment safety.

Ajaero Tony Martins