Alliance to develop minimum OHS standards for SMEs

WORKSAFE Victoria has announced an alliance with Australia's leading universities and health and safety organisations to help make small and medium sized Victorian companies safer.

WORKSAFE Victoria has announced an alliance with Australia’s leading universities and health and safety organisations to help make small and medium sized Victorian companies safer.

Executive Director, John Merritt said the alliance will work closely in the coming months to develop ways to help Victoria’s 240,000 plus small and medium sized employers meet the challenges of providing safe workplaces.

“We aim to raise the profile of key people and organisations that help small and medium business employers with their health and safety risks

“The alliance’s priority is to develop minimum standards for OHS practitioners that work with SMEs, create a referral service for employers seeking help and promote the value of working with professional associations.

“In the longer term it is expected the alliance will explore research opportunities to help our organisation better understand how it can help make small and medium sized workplaces safer,” Merritt said.

As part of streamlining support for small to medium sized businesses, the organisation is reviewing its web-based directory of service providers.

Merritt said the current directory does not reflect the skills and professional standards of those on it.

“By working through professional bodies, greater consistency will be achieved with benefits for consumers and industry alike.

“Currently listed companies are being encouraged to work with the professional associations to detail their expertise and qualifications to better target their work.

“Professional associations, vocational trainers and educators are a vital part of the safety formula.

“Good OHS practitioners will become better while others with the potential to improve will have the opportunity to be supported by a professional body.”

He said while each organisation retains its autonomy, professional associations would build on existing polices to jointly develop updated service standards, improved professional development and complaints handling systems that were transparent and consistent.

“The benefit will be that the community will get more consistent information from people trained to a defined high standard.

“Professional associations, universities and other training organisations could also help us do our job even better.

“These groups are in direct contact with workplaces and OHS professionals. They have experience and information we can draw on,” Merritt said.

Working party members are:

• Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (Royal Australasian College of Physicians)

• Australian and New Zealand Society of Occupational Medicine

• Australian College of Occupational Health Nurses

• Australian Institute of Occupational Hygienists

• Congress of Safety and Health Association Presidents

• Human Factors and Ergonomics Society of Australia

• Royal Australian Institute of Architects

• Safety Institute of Australia

• WorkSafe’s Occupational Health and Safety Advisory committee

• Chisholm Institute of TAFE

• Deakin University

• Holmesglen Institute of TAFE

• Innovation and Business Skills Australia

• La Trobe University

• Monash University

• RMIT University

• Swinburne University of Technology

• University of Ballarat

• Victoria University

For more information visit or call 9641 1216.

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