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WHS Documentation

WHS Documentation

What are the main types of WHS documents?

There are many types of WHS documents at your workplace. They generally give you two things:

  1. Information about health and safety, and
  2. A way to report hazards, incidents, injuries etc.

Here are some examples:

Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS)

These statements are to be provided by your Workplace Supervisor. They give agreed information on safe work practices to all staff in a work group. They are developed only after a full risk assessment has been completed and after all reasonable risk control measures have been put into place. Examples can be found on the Racing NSW website.


Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)

MSDS exist for materials that are hazardous. The sheets are supplied by the manufacturer or product supplier. They identify how the materials should be handled. An MSDS covers health, handling, ingredients and first aid, safe handling and storage requirements. You should have easy access to them and always check them before product use.


Accident, incident and injury reports and proformas

These are the forms on which you should write any workplace injuries or accidents. They need to be processed correctly and be given to the proper person (such as your supervisor or Health and Safety Representative). This usually needs to be done within a specified timeframe (you may need to check this – it will probably vary depending on the type of report, and procedures for reporting at your workplace).


Reports of dangerous incidents or near miss

Dangerous incidents and near misses may not cause injury, but may be a big risk to people or property, for example collapse or failure of a building or structure, electrical short circuit etc.). These must be reported promptly to the correct authority. You will need to check which proformas must be used, who the report should go to, and the timeframe for reporting. Again, this might change from workplace to workplace.


Risk Assessments

A risk assessment process. It will list the factors which have contributed to a risk in a particular task or job. It will also give a review of available health and safety information and evaluate the likelihood and severity of injury or illness. It will also identify actions to control or eliminate the risk, and requirements for keeping records.

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