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Business and employer responsibilities

Even if you're self-employed, you're legally responsible for the health and safety of yourself and everyone who visits your place of work. This includes workers, clients, visitors and volunteers.

What are my responsibilities?

As an employer or business owner, your legal responsibility is known as your primary duty of care in the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

To meet your duty of care, you must:

  • provide a safe work environment
  • ensure safe use, handling and storage of machinery, structures and substances
  • make sure your facilities are well-maintained and at an acceptable standard
  • give your workers any information, training, instruction or supervision needed for safety
  • keep an eye on the health of workers and conditions at your place of work
  • keep an injury register
  • have a workers' compensation policy and a return to work plan.

Where do I start?

There are seven questions to ask yourself that will help you create a safer and healthier business.

Responsibility for safety starts at the top.

To develop a strong safety culture and show your commitment, you should:

  • lead by example
  • demonstrate that health and safety is a priority
  • build health and safety into your business plans.

Learn more about management commitment.

Register for the Injury Prevention and Management program.

Having a conversation with your workers lets you gain first-hand knowledge and experience that will help make your business safer and healthier.

Learn more about how to consult with your workers.

In every work environment, there are hazards that could cause workers harm. The word risk describes how likely that harm is to happen and how severe that harm could be.

Your business must have a clear process in place to remove or reduce risks to your workers.

Learn more about managing risks.

Your workers need to know how to report safety issues and hazards. Having a safety reporting process in place can help stop incidents from occurring.

Injury reporting system

You need to keep a record of all injuries and illnesses – even minor ones. Make sure your workers know how to report incidents, injuries or illnesses so you can take action straight away.

Importantly, some injuries, illnesses and incidents must be reported to Workplace Health and Safety Queensland by law.

Learn more about safety reporting processes.

Everyone needs to know how to do their job safely.

The information, training and supervision you give will make sure everyone in your place of work understands:

  • the possible health and safety risks of their work
  • the systems and control measures in place
  • how to work in a healthy and safe way
  • how to respond to emergencies.

Learn more about your training and supervision responsibilities.

A safe working environment means:

  • your place of work is designed to be healthy and safe
  • workspaces are safe and clean
  • emergency plans are in place and reviewed regularly
  • a fully stocked first aid kit is available
  • machinery and equipment operate safely
  • work is organised so that it doesn’t cause excessive fatigue, stress or conflict
  • mental health is a priority
  • chemicals are used, handled and stored safely
  • safety data sheets for hazardous chemicals are available and up-to-date.

Learn more about designing a safe work environment.

If you employ workers, you must have a current workers' compensation insurance policy, an injury reporting system and an effective rehabilitation and return to work program.

Learn more about workers' compensation and return to work.

Learn how to make return to work as easy as 1, 2, 3(PDF, 0.16 MB)

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