General workplace management

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In Queensland, the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 includes provisions that relate to:

  • information, training and instruction
  • general working environment
  • first aid
  • emergency plans
  • personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • remote or isolated work
  • managing risks from airborne contaminants
  • hazardous atmospheres
  • storage of flammable or combustible substances and falling objects.

Information, training and instruction

As a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) you have a duty to provide information, training and instruction to your workers that is suitable and adequate to:

  • the nature of the work to be carried out by the worker
  • the nature of the risks associated with the work (at the time the information, training or instruction is provided)
  • the control measures implemented to deal with these risks.

You must also ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, that the information, training and instruction provided is readily understandable by any person it is provided to.

General working environment (workplace facilities)

You must ensure that the following is provided and maintained, so far as is reasonably practicable, without risk to a person's health and safety:

  • a means of entry, exit and movement within a workplace
  • a work space
  • floors and surfaces designed, installed and maintained for the tasks being undertaken
  • adequate lighting to enable each person to carry out work, move within the workplace and evacuate in an emergency
  • ventilation
  • control of risks associated with extremes in temperatures
  • control of risks associated with essential services
  • adequate facilities for workers (including toilets, drinking water, washing and eating facilities), maintained in good working order and clean, safe and accessible.

Managing risks from airborne contaminants

You must ensure that no one at the workplace is exposed to a substance or mixture in an airborne concentration which exceeds its exposure standard.

Air monitoring must be conducted to determine if any airborne concentration of the substance or mixture becomes a risk to anyone working in your workplace. If monitoring is conducted, the results must be recorded and retained for 30 years and be accessible to persons exposed at the workplace.

Managing chemicals

Keep in mind the health and safety of yourself and others when cleaning up chemical spills. The safety data sheet (SDS) gives information for cleaning up a chemical spill.

Each chemical has an identification code, called a UN number (a 4 digit number), which you can find stamped on the container or on its label. It is also found on the relevant SDS. If you call an emergency number to report a chemical incident, supply them with the UN number.

Try to contain a chemical spill so that it does not get into a watercourse or storage facility.

Hazardous atmospheres

Your workplace must manage risks associated with a hazardous atmosphere. An atmosphere is a hazardous atmosphere if:

  • the atmosphere does not have a safe oxygen level (for example grain respiration occurring in grain silos leading to an oxygen depleted atmosphere, or effluent pits depleted in oxygen as a result of microbial action, or use of vehicle exhaust gas to purge a tank or vessel)
  • the concentration of oxygen in the atmosphere increases the fire risk (for example a gas leak from a compressed oxygen cylinder used for welding activities in a confined area raising the oxygen concentration)
  • the concentration of a flammable gas, vapour, mist, or fumes exceeds 5 % of the lower explosive limit for the gas, vapour, mist or fumes (for example tanks and containers containing residual fuel, or use of solvents in enclosed areas)
  • a hazardous chemical in the form of a combustible dust is present in a quantity and form that would result in a hazardous area (combustible dusts include wood dust, bio-solids, sugar, starch, flour, feed, and grain. Hazards may exist when these dusts are finely divided, accumulate and become suspended in the air to create a hazardous atmosphere (for example grain silos or enclosed grain handling facilities where airborne dust is generated).

A duty holder must also manage the risks associated with an ignition source in a hazardous atmosphere.

Storage of flammable or combustible substances

You must ensure that if flammable or combustible substances are kept at the workplace, the substances are kept at the lowest practicable quantity for the workplace.

Flammable or combustible substances include:

  • flammable and combustible liquids, including waste liquids, in containers, whether empty or full
  • gas cylinders, whether empty or full.
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