Q: What are my requirements for Emergency Preparedness and Response?
A: There are specific requirements within the Ã¢â‚¬ËœManaging the Work Environment and Facilities’ ACT Code of Practice for Emergency preparedness. (Refer to Section 5- Regulation 43).
A person conducting a business or undertaking must ensure that an emergency plan is prepared for the workplace that provides for:
a) emergency procedures, including:
b) testing of the emergency procedures, including how often they should be tested
c) information, training and instruction to relevant workers in relation to implementing the emergency procedures.
There are different types of emergency situations, including fire or explosion, dangerous chemical release, medical emergency, natural disaster, bomb threats, violence or robbery. In preparing and maintaining an emergency plan, the following must be considered:
The plan must be based on an assessment of the hazards at the workplace, including the possible consequences of an incident occurring as a result of those hazards. For example, a cleaner working by themselves in a city office building will be subject to different hazards to a worker in a chemical plant.
The varying nature of the hazards requires the risks of the particular job to be assessed, and an appropriate emergency procedure put in place. The impact of external hazards that may affect the health and safety of workers should also be taken into account (for example, a chemical storage facility across the road).
The preparation of an emergency plan for a workplace shared by a number of businesses (for example, a shopping centre, construction site or multi-tenanted office building) should be co-ordinated by the person with management or control of the workplace (who may be the property manager, principal contractor or landlord) in consultation with all tenants or businesses at the workplace.
If the business is conducted at such a workplace and an emergency plan has already been prepared, the types of emergency situations that may arise from the business must be considered in the emergency plan.
Workers and their health and safety representatives must be consulted when reviewing, and if necessary, revising, the emergency plan by the person responsible for preparing it. A plan must be developed if there is no emergency plan at the workplace. If the workplace presents a significant hazard in an emergency, consultation with the local emergency services when developing the plan should occur.
The emergency procedures in the emergency plan must clearly explain how to respond in various types of emergency, including how to evacuate people from the workplace in a controlled manner. The procedures should be written clearly and simple to understand. Where relevant, the emergency procedures should address:
Emergency procedures must be tested in accordance with the emergency plan in which they are contained. Evacuation procedures should be displayed in a prominent place, for example, on a noticeboard. Workers must be instructed and trained in the procedures. A more comprehensive plan may be needed to address high risk situations such as:
There will also be further requirements if you are ISO or OFSC accredited. The Australian Standard 3745:2010 –œ Planning for Emergencies in Facilities provides further information.
Q: If an employee does not report an incident in the required time frame, can we ask them to take annual and personal leave?
A: No. It is a direct contravention of the Worker’s Compensation Act 1951.
The cost of medical treatment and other expenses relating to a compensable injury are payable to the injured worker. Other expenses may include clothing that was damaged or lost as a result of the accident, the amount of wages lost by the worker whilst attending treatment, transport to and from the treatment, and the cost of accommodation (including meals) if required.
Disagreements can arise over payments of benefits, delays in treatment and medical expenses, and the causes and reporting of injuries. They could also include disagreements over return to work issues such as the injured worker refusing suitable duties, the employer refusing to offer them duties when asked, or where the treating doctor is reluctant to agree to duties offered. Section 195 of the Workers Compensation Act 1951 allows for conciliation and arbitration of disputes in accordance with the Workers Compensation Regulation 2002 (the Regulation). The Regulation stipulates however, that conciliation for a dispute concerning a worker’s claim for compensation must be held before arbitration can take place.
Injured workers must take all reasonable steps to return to the workplace as soon as possible, taking into consideration the nature of the injury, and participate and cooperate in the personal injury Plan. Failure to comply may result in weekly compensation payments being stopped.
The Workers Compensation Act 1951 ensures that injured workers:
To make a claim, you must:
When a worker is injured and seeks to make a workers compensation claim an employer must:
If the employer fails to give notice within the specified timeframe (48 hours), the employer is directly liable for weekly compensation from the end of the notification time until the notice is given to the insurer and cannot be reimbursed by the insurer for compensation paid prior to the date of notification. An employer must:
For further information visit accesscaberra.act.gov.au. WorkSafe ACT are the Workers Compensation Regulators in the ACT
If you have any WHS related enquiries, please don’t hesitate to contact us on (02) 6175 5900