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Army April 12, 2012
Up to speed with safety
Meeting the requirements of the new Work, Health and Safety Act
position to meet
the requirements of
the new nationwide
and Safety Act.
Cpl Janine Fabre
Cpl Mark Doran
ARMYSAFE has positioned Army well for the new
nationwide Work, Health and Safety (WHS) legisla-
tive environment, which came into force on January 1.
The WHS Act 2011 requires risks to workers to be
identified and managed with reasonable and practical
measures to minimise the likelihood of harm or illness
The Act requires all soldiers, cadets, public serv-
ants, contractors and visitors in Army-controlled work
sites to conduct their work safely and through no act or
omission put themselves or others in the workplace at
risk of injury or illness.
Col David Harris, of AHQ's Safety Policy and
Programs Directorate, said the changes meant members
could be held accountable if they were reckless or neg-
ligent by deliberately disregarding Army's standard risk
controls (orders and doctrine) and contributed to the
injury or illness of themselves or others.
"This is not different from the old legislation, but
the Act brings with it higher penalties if it can be prov-
en a person was reckless or negligent in the workplace,"
Col Harris said Army had excellent doctrine and
procedures, which had been refined over generations
of risk identification and mitigation to reach what the
legislation called safe systems of work.
"Army also has a good training system with reg-
istered training organisation status, which provides a
solid base for the legislative requirement of continuous
improvement to safe systems of work," he said.
"Safety is built into the training of our soldiers and
is a real strength for us, as are our military risk manage-
ment processes, which were instigated in 2007.
"The appreciation is taught at all our schools to
soldiers from corporal level and above and it is a sound
risk-management methodology. When combined with
our staff processes of orders, instructions and direc-
tives, it's a risk management system which sees Army
well placed for satisfying the requirements of the Act.
"Army's leadership training also emphasises the
importance of an individual's health, safety and welfare
in order to ensure combat power and capability are
Col Harris was one of the architects of the
ArmySAFE system in 2004-2005, and said his major
responsibility for the past few months was the restruc-
ture of a new version of the system so ArmySAFE
remained consistent with the new legislation.
"The new Work Health and Safety Act means the
ArmySAFE manual has to be re-released to meet these
changes for the short term, and future changes may be
necessary as we continue to refine and improve our
WHS system," he said.
"The new legislation also requires us to identify,
manage and mitigate our risks and our appreciation pro-
cess allows us to do this well.
"If you are working in accordance with your train-
ing, unit SOPs or standard doctrine and under a set of
orders, you can't be deemed negligent or reckless if
something does go wrong.
"The bottom line is -- trust your doctrine and SOPs,
look after yourself, look after your mates and don't
walk past a safety problem -- do something about it."
Health and Saf
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