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Unit: Working safely

Section: Safety policies and procedures

MSAPMOHS200A: Work safely

Competencies covered

MSAPMOHS200A: Work safely

Rights and responsibilities

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In general, the rights and responsibilities of all people in the workplace are defined in the Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act that applies to your state or territory.

There are also Regulations that expand on particular aspects of the Act and provide details on how it should be implemented.

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The various state and territory governments have been working towards aligning their Acts and Regulations with 'model' laws developed by the federal government body called Safe Work Australia.

It was hoped that this harmonization process would be completed by January 2012.

However, some states are still operating under their old laws while they work through the changes needed to comply with the new national model.

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All state and territory Acts say that everyone has a duty of care to ensure that their actions don't jeopardise the safety or welfare of others. Everyone in the workplace is also required to report any hazards that they notice, so that steps can be taken to minimise the risk of the hazard causing an injury or illness.

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In addition to this shared responsibility for safety, there are specific responsibilities relating to each level of employment.

Click on the icons below to see summaries of these responsibilities.

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The WHS Acts also give workers certain rights. For example, workers have the right to raise genuine safety issues with their supervisor or manager, and have their concerns taken seriously. They are also protected from discrimination if they report a hazard or unsafe work practice.

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Safety officers and WHS committee members are also protected under the Act from discrimination as they carry out the duties relating to that position, such as undertaking site inspections or investigating the causes of accidents.

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Learning activity

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What are your responsibilities for safety in your own workplace? Use the checklists above as a guide, and include any extra responsibilities that apply to your particular job role.

Write down the main points and share them with your trainer and other learners in your group.

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