Occupational health and safety

Why is it called Occupational Health and Safety?

Safety at work is called Occupational Health and Safety or OH&S.

Health includes thinking about the long-term effects that work has on health and well-being. This includes healthy ideas such as: working in a smoke-free environment; having proper protection from the sun; or dealing with work stress or bullying.

The safety is about doing things to prevent injuries. This includes rules like wearing a hard hat on a construction site or having non-slip floors.

Why do you need to know about OH&S?

Young workers are more likely to be hurt at work than any other age group, and their injuries are most likely to result in going to hospital. It is the responsibility of the employer to make sure the workplace is a safe and healthy place to be.

What should you expect from your employer?

Your employer should:

  • Do a risk assessment for every employee (including for work experience students)
  • Provide training
  • Provide you with protective equipment if you need it
  • Make sure you are supervised properly

What can you do to stay healthy and safe?

You can help your employer and yourself with occupational health and safety by:

  • Cooperating with your employer on OH&S issues
  • Following safety procedures
  • Using the protective equipment and clothing you are given
  • Asking if you are unsure about something
  • Making sure you get proper training to use equipment or do the job
  • Knowing what to do in an emergency
  • Speaking out if there’s a problem
  • Telling your employer about any risks or hazards you spot (like a spill on the floor or a faulty appliance)

What happens if you are injured at work?

You should:

  • Report the injury to your boss right away
  • Record the details in your workplace register of injuries
  • Get a medical certificate from your doctor
  • Comply with any return to work procedures

Download the Rights: Safe Work activity sheet


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