Safety, Security, Health and Environmental legislation

The SSHE-law is a Safety, Security, Health and Environmental legislation that seeks to safeguard the health of employees and any other person within the premises of the organization. With the changing times and a growing number of hazards within the workplace, SSHE law is vital in regulating the safety standards within the organization. The set codes of practice provide guidance on hazard identification, risk assessment processes and risk control. In New South Wales, the NSW OHS Regulation 2001 regulates the safety measures in an organization to ensure a danger-free working environment (Sengar, 2007).

This is a very vital law in the current business situation not only in the New South Wales but also in the rest of the United States. The different chapters of this legislation stipulate the standards that should be met by the management. Proper implementation strategies are also vital in to ensure all parties benefit from the piece of legislation (Kidd, 2008). The chapters clearly state what the management should be aware of regarding the safety of the employees. Following, is a summary of the contents of the various chapters:

  • Chapter 1- a brief introduction and definitions of the law. Chapter 2- risk management at places of work.
  • Chapter 3- workplace consultation.
  • Chapter 4- emphasizes on work premises and working environment.
  • Chapter 5- is about plant i. e. machinery like computers, equipment, tools.
  • Chapter 6- is about hazardous substances.
  • Chapter 7- is on hazardous processes.
  • Chapter 8- is about construction work.
  • Chapter 9- a certification of workers.
  • Chapter 10- is about licensing of certain businesses.
  • Chapter 11- addresses permits for certain work.
  • Chapter 12- is a notification of accidents and other miscellaneous provisions.

Chapter 6: Hazardous substances. In this essay, Chapter 6, a piece of SSHE-legislation, will be analyzed to establish its risk management principles. The chapter obligates an employer (including the self-employed) to protect their employees from harmful effects of hazardous substances that they could be manufacturing, using or supplying. Hazardous substances contain ingredients that are, according to the document entitled “Approved Criteria for Classifying Hazardous Substances [NOHSC: 1008 (1999)]” published by the NOHS Commission, either carcinogenic, mutagenic, teratogenic, corrosive, toxic, skin or respiratory sensitizers.

In-House Safety Rules & Regulations, unfamiliar chemical is considered as a hazardous substance. It is however paramount to note that this Chapter does not apply to substances such as food, therapeutic agents, tobacco, toiletries and cosmetics, if their use is not related to work activities (Tooma, 2004). Dangerous goods In this Chapter, “dangerous goods” could mean either goods too dangerous to be transported or C1 combustible liquids (have a flashpoint of between 60. 5 degrees Celsius and 150 degrees Celsius). This is regardless of whether or not they are packaged for transport or under pressure (Bohle & Quinlan, 2000).

Risk management principles in the manufacture of hazardous substances A manufacturer must first establish whether or not a substance is hazardous before allowing its use at the work premises. This is determination is done based on the NOHS Commission classification. If found to be hazardous, the manufacturer must prepare a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for the substance before the substance is supplied to another person for use at work (Harrington, 2001). There are various requirements for the MSDS but most importantly the MSDS must set out; At least the chemical name of the ingredient in the hazardous substance.  Its chemical and physical properties.  Relevant health-hazard information.  Precautions to be taken so as to enhance safety during the substance’s usage.  The name, and Australian address and telephone numbers (including an emergency number), of the manufacturer. If the ingredients’ names are not on the MSDS, the manufacturer must present a medical practitioner with this vital information which would be useful if emergency medical treatment should be required.

The medical practitioner should then sign an agreement not to misuse this information (Michael, 2008). Risk management principles in the supply of hazardous substances The Supplier should provide the MSDS to an employer (not a retailer though) the first time he supplies the substance to him and also after a revision of the MSDS by the manufacturer. The MSDS should also be given to a health practitioner. Proper and clear labeling is also a supplier’s duty in risk management. Labeling is aimed at ensuring awareness of the goods handler on the possible risks involved during handling.

The label should generally contain the information in the MSDS. Supplier should provide employer with any other relevant information regarding the safe use of the substance, aside from that in the MSDS. R. (Creighton & Stewart, 2005). Risk management principles in the use of hazardous substances It is worth pointing out that the term “use” also refers to the handling, storage, transport or disposal of the substance. A wide range of measures are to be taken by the employer to aid in risk management at the work premises. The employer must ensure all employees can always access the unaltered MSDS.

The employer should also label the containers holding the hazardous substance. The label should still contain the information in the MSDS (Thompson, 2001). It is an employer’s call to ensure that substances’ contraindications of certain use, e. g. The prohibited use of Carbon disulphide is spray painting, are not used in that manner. For each employee, in case of exposure to the harmful substance which could pose a health risk, the employer must provide health surveillance under an authorized medical practitioner of his (employer’s) choice and at his (employer’s) expense (Bohle & Quinlan, 2000).

The legislation clearly states the kind of health surveillance to be provided based on the hazardous substance to which employee has been exposed. A register of all hazardous substances to be kept at the work place. It should contain relevant MSDS and should be readily accessible to the employees. The risk assessment report of any hazardous substance should also be accessible to the employees. An employer must identify any hazardous substance contained in an enclosed system at the place of work such as a pipe or piping system (Johnstone, 2004).

Conclusion The importance of safety and security of health at work cannot be overemphasized. Absence of which directly translates to decreased productivity. This has moved me to believe that a nation’s greatest assets are its employees and thus it invests highly in their well-being. NSW, Australia’s most populous state, is not an exception as evidenced by the coming together of various organizations, including the media, to work with the NSW government to ensure the SSHE legislation is properly implemented (Kloss, 2010).

The NSW Government works together with WorkCover Authority of NSW which administers regulations such as; Occupational Health and Safety Regulation 2001 and Dangerous Goods (Road and Rail Transport) Regulation 2009. These regulations support the general requirements of the legislation and provide more detail of its application. The OHS Magazine has also assisted in enlightening the public and the relevant authorities where and how to improve on ensuring safety at work (Creighton & Stewart, 2005).

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