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  1. #1

    No whs or ohs legislative definition for the word safe

    Why is it that no Australian state WHS or OHS legislation ACTS or Regulations give a definition for the word SAFE.

    If one checks the Australian National dictionary the Macquarie dictionary gives definitions as 1 / free from risk and 2/ secure from risk with this in mind now introduce a SAFE work method statement which is a risk assessment with a risk matrix to give a residual risk remembering SAFE is defined as free and secure from risk (100%)

    In South Australia current legal cases prior to the 2012 whs introduction companys and or individuals were and are still being found guilty under section 19 of the SA OHS&W ACT 1986 for failing to provide a SAFE (free from risk ) workplace . By SAFE (free from risk ) WORK SA.

    AND yes in the new SA WHS ACT 2012 and the SA WHS REGULATIONS 2012 both contain the word SAFE but know where in both documents is there given a definition for the word SAFE.

    kind regards Dean T

  2. #2
    I think you answered your own question. On the theoretical side; there is no such thing as absolutely risk free in most anything from walking to cycling to preparing dinner. We would be remiss, if we thought otherwise. Our work as safety engineers and industrial hygienists is too quantify risks, program risk mitigation or abatement activities for those risks which are unacceptable in terms of severity of hazard and liklihood of occurrence, and liability. The courts apply the Common Law principle of "The Reasonable Man std." This means basically, barring specific violations of a particular criteria, statute, or std , did the employer or owner operator exercise sound thought processes or judgement that any Reasonable Man would under a similar set of circumstances? If you acted according to the stds of practice in the ANZSOM guidelines as an industrial hygienist or the National Safety Council of Australia charter then your fine. It's when you stray outside the limits of your education and experience is when one can get him/herself on tender hooks. It's your employer's job to ensure you maintain continual education units to broaden your knowledge of the practice of safety/IH. He or she is ultimately accountable for your actions of their behalf under the legal principle of "Agency." All employees act as agents of the employer so the agents actions are the legal responsibility of the employer should something go wrong. Under tort law, legal remedies are sought from employers most commonly... employers usually have the deeper pockets! This is why insurance rates are higher for certain business sectors than for others... to pay the claims. Particular businesses with poor safety records have to pay additional premiums for their lackluster records.

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