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Work Health Safety Risk Management Process

Over the last few months Parham Fouladi, our Risk Management Coordinator, has been meeting with the various business units at Baptist Care SA as part of the process to update and rejuvenate the company’s risk register. By now, a number of you would have participated in risk management discussions. Although part of the broader risk management arena, this article only focusses on Work Health Safety (WHS) risk management.


So what defines WHS Risk Management?

The Work Health and Safety Act 2012 provides a framework to secure the health and safety of workers and workplaces. This is achieved by protecting workers (staff, volunteers, contractors etc.) and other persons (visitors, clients etc.) against harm to their health, safety and welfare through the elimination or minimisation of risks arising from work.

So, the key here is protection against harm from hazards and risks arising from work


Who cares?

Baptist Care SA has a primary duty of care to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of its workers while at work. This also includes ensuring the health and safety of other people is not being put at risk by any work carried out by Baptist Care SA.

Some of practical ways we do this include:

  • the provision and maintenance of a work environment without risks to health and safety
  • the provision and maintenance of safe plant and structures and safe systems of work
  • the provision of any information, training, instruction or supervision that is necessary to protect all persons from risks to their health and safety arising from work carried out by Baptist Care SA.

As a member of staff of Baptist Care SA you also have a duty of care. You must:

  • take reasonable care for your own health and safety
  • take reasonable care that your actions do not adversely affect the health and safety of other persons
  • and comply, so far as you are reasonably able, with any reasonable instruction that is given by Baptist Care SA to allow it to comply with the WHS Act 2012
  • co‑operate with any reasonable policy or procedure of Baptist Care SA relating to health or safety at the workplace.

The same duty of care applicable to workers also exists for other people, but with the practical exclusion of the requirement to co-operate with any reasonable policy or procedures of Baptist Care SA.


What is required?

A safe and healthy workplace does not happen by chance or guesswork. You have to think about what could go wrong at your workplace and what the consequences could be.  Then you must do whatever you can (whatever is “reasonably practicable”) to eliminate or minimise health and safety risks arising from Baptist Care SA.

So what does the WHS risk management process involve? Central to this is management commitment as it is important to assign the required time and resources and to get involved in health and safety issues at work. Consultation forms part of every step and keeps the whole process together with the sharing of information and drawing on the experience, knowledge and ideas of those involved. WHS risk management is truly a team effort.

  • Step 1: Identify hazards – find out what could cause harm.


  • Step 2: Assess risks – understand the nature of the harm that could be caused by the hazard, how serious the harm could be and the likelihood of it happening.


  • Step 3: Control risks – implement the most effective control measure that is reasonably practicable in the circumstances.


  • Step 4: Review control measures to ensure they are working as planned.



What are we doing?

Remember, we are already engaged in daily WHS risk management at Baptist Care SA and although it is a legal obligation, risk management often comes naturally as we want to avoid harm to ourselves and others. However, there are also more formal and documented actions we undertake at Baptist Care SA for each of the 4 steps.

Step 1: There are a number of ways in which hazards are identified at Baptist Care SA, such as incident and hazard reporting through Riskman, monthly WHS meetings, identified health and safety representatives, bi-annual worksite inspection checklists, site visits and various other checklists/audit forms etc.

Step 2: Risk assessments are done through available forms, part of incident and hazard reporting or even through structured risk assessment workshops/discussions.  

Step 3: With approximately 21 policies and procedures, 17 organizational work directives and a number of service work directives all relating to WHS, Baptist Care SA has a significant body of knowledge documenting known controls for WHS risks. 

Step 4: Review of control measures are done in part via the tools used for the identification of hazards and ongoing audits.


Where to next?

In view of the current roll-out of the Client Pathway System (CPS) and future roll-out of the new Incident/Risk Management Database, an opportunity has presented itself to review the status quo of WHS risk managementIn particular, the documents or tools used for the identification of hazards and review of control measures within Baptist Care SA and also the workflow processes that guide WHS risk management within Baptist Care SA.

At the last Learning and Development Forum held on 27 February 2019, attendees were asked to share their thoughts on how best Baptist Care SA can streamline and optimise current WHS risk management documents and workflow processes. A number of recommendations were made and these will be incorporated when planning the review of risk management processes at Baptist Care SA.

Next month we will be discussing the consultation and communication process as it relates to WHS, with special focus on the WHS Committee.


Stay safe until next time.


Frederick Wright

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