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Business positive about incoming workplace safety laws

The majority of managers believe new work health and safety (WHS) laws due to come into force in January 2012 will have a positive impact on their business, a new survey has found.

According to ComOps research, 87 percent of managers believe the new work health and safety regime will be of benefit to their organisation, and  60 percent of businesses feel the laws personal liability provisions are a positive move.

The harmonisation of Australia’s WHS legislation is intended to minimise areas of risk, and implement greater accountability and visibility into workplace safety practices within organisations.

A key focus of the legislation is to improve communication and implement more comprehensive reporting, which means business owners, directors and other management will find their duty of care more tightly defined.

When asked about the three most critical factors for driving a successful WHS program, 74 percent said creating the right culture was the most important factor, while 52 percent indicated having management support and participation was the second most important factor.

Almost half of all respondents said deploying tools in the business to report on hazards and incidents was the third most important factor.

The research found almost two thirds of businesses have already prepared processes and systems in time for the legislation’s implementation, and just 18 percent believe it will take them at least another six to 12 months to achieve the task.

According to ComOps general manager Daniel Sheahan, businesses would be well advised to audit their risk management strategy and revisit their existing WHS plans, “and confirm that they are still appropriate and will meet the requirements of the new legislation.”

“Harmonisation provides an excellent opportunity for organisations to strengthen their management and employees’ awareness of risk.”