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31 Mar 2004 | eLABORATE

news > Spectrum > Page 8

Occupational Health & Safety - the next step

By Rob Boshier

Occupational Health & Safety

OH&S is one of those things that seems tediously painful - that is until something goes wrong.

In the event of an accident, your first response to the situation can be either well implemented (successful implementation of OH&S) or dreadfully wanting! Firstly by letting down the victim of the accident and then leaving your business very vulnerable to accusations of negligence.

In the absence of clear documentation and good work practices having been introduced into your business, your ability to defend any action taken against you as an employer is going to be compromised. As with any law, ignorance is no defence. You need to invest time into making yourself and your staff aware of the compliance requirements.

Compliance is not something to avoid or ignore; rather the challenge is to see it for what it really is. It is a mind set. A culture you need to develop in the work place, something that hopefully becomes second nature to you and your colleagues. It is one of those things you don't do at your own peril. It is about "Risk management" and demonstrating a proactive approach to your work place safety.

The ACDLA and ACT Workcover in association with the ADPA first introduced the subject to our members with the publication of "Occupational Health & Safety, a guide for dental technicians and dental prosthetists" in late 2002. This was a great introduction to the subject that was very well received by all in the industry. It had the effect of making the reader aware of the challenges to comply.

With a mind to guide our membership through the process of developing strategies and implementing them in the laboratory and prosthetic practices, the Association has now developed a 'step by step' workbook for OH&S. Drafted with the assistance of Prevention Injury Planning Strategies P/L and NSW Workcover, the manual explains the regulations and their implications and provides the templates for completing your documentation. This documentation needs to be available when audited by inspectors or in the event a work place injury.

Two successful workshop/ lectures have been well attended in Sydney and in Coffs Harbour to coincide with the launch of the OH&S Workbook. Pippa Wright from Prevention Injury Planning Strategies Pty Ltd gave a most informative insight into OH&S and use of the workbook.

Successfully completing the program advances those involved closer to accreditation as an "ACDLA Accredited Laboratory". The Accreditation Program is to be widely publicised in the industry over the next few years. Should you have any questions about OH&S after the release of the "OH&S Workbook for Dental Laboratories and Dental Prosthetic Practices", contact the ACDLA.

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