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This document is a policy document which outlines the approach a business takes to ensuring the health and safety of employees and other persons at work. This document is designed for use by businesses and organisations which are based in Australia.
This policy can assist in setting out an employer's commitment to health and safety while giving instructions and information to employees, contractors, customers and other third parties who have contact with the business.
This document shall provide:
Please note that this document requires businesses to carry out risk assessments and other practices to manage health and safety in the workplace.
Businesses should also consider whether they wish to create a specific policy which deals with any risks relating to Covid-19. If so, our Workplace Health Policy for COVID-19/Coronavirus may be used.
Employment policies are not generally intended to be contractually binding on employees. Instead, they explain the employer's general rules, procedures and expectations of employees. As a consequence, if the employer fails to follow a particular policy, the employee may not be able to claim that the employer has breached its contractual obligations. However, this also means that if there are specific matters of importance, that should be legally binding on the employee (such as their specific job duties, their hours of work, confidentiality obligations, or conflict of interest obligations), then the employer should make sure that these are addressed in a legally binding document, such as an Employment Agreement, a Confidentiality Agreement or a Non-Compete Agreement.
This policy specifically deals with the conditions in relation to dealing with health and safety at the workplace. We have various other documents and policies which address other aspects of employment. For general employment matters, consider our Employment Agreement and our Employee Handbook.
For dealing with remote work during the Covid-19/Coronavirus Crisis, consider our Remote Work Policy during the COVID-19/Coronavirus Crisis or our Coronavirus/COVID-19 Remote Work Agreement.
For matters relating to employee social media use, consider our Social Media Policy.
For matters relating to the taking of temporary leave during the coronavirus pandemic, consider our Coronavirus/COVID-19 Temporary Leave Policy.
For matters relating to employee drug and alcohol use, consider our Drug and Alcohol Policy.
For matters relating to employee harassment and discrimination, consider our Discrimination Policy.
How to use this document
Australian employers have obligations to provide a safe and healthy workplace to their workers.
The document should be completed with all the relevant information. It is the duty of the business to ensure that all aims, responsibilities and arrangements contained within this document are carried out.
This document is intended as a starting point for the business but there may be additional matters to address, which are not covered in the policy. Aside from preparing this policy, there may also be other steps for the business to take in dealing with workplace health and safety, including conducting risk assessments, training, reviews and consultations with workers. The Safe Work Australia provides further information.
This document should be made easily available, and workers should be notified about the new policy. An easy way to do this is by sending a Letter to Employees About New or Updated Workplace Policies. It is common to display workplace policies in an easily accessible public area so that any persons who may be connected with the business in any way can easily see the commitment the business has made to upholding standards of health and safety.
This policy includes an option to have workers sign it, to acknowledge having read and understood it. If the business is having workers sign copies of it, then the business may keep signed copies on file.
Please note that should this policy be revised or altered at any time, these revisions and alterations must be communicated effectively to workers at the earliest opportunity.
The Fair Work Act 2009 (Commonwealth) applies the National Employment Standards (NES), which are a set of minimum employment standards in Australia.
In addition, each state and territory has legislation that deals with various employment matters such as occupational health and safety or discrimination. Further information about this is also available from Safe Work Australia.
This document does not take into account the requirements of modern awards or enterprise agreements. If such an award or agreement applies, then that will set out some additional minimum standards with which the employer must comply.
General principles of contract law, as provided by the common law, may also apply.
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