Element 1 – Follow Occupational Health and Safety Policies and Procedures
Occupational health and safety legislation aims to provide for the health, safety and welfare of persons at work. This is often closely linked with worker’s compensation legislation. The legislation (statute law) strongly supports common law (tort or negligence) by providing specific provisions to enhance worker safety. It aims to positively encourage all employers to take steps to reduce accidents and thereby reduce worker’s compensation claims.
A security officer working in an organisation will follow occupational health and safety policies and procedures as a part of his / her daily duties. Well written and developed policies and procedures will contribute to a safe workplace and safe systems of work for all employees, clients and members of the public.
The types of policies and procedures that may relate to an organisation include:
- Application of first aid
- Emergency and evacuation response
- Equipment maintenance and use
- Hazard and risk identification and reporting
- OHS consultation and participative arrangements
- Reporting accidents, incidents, injuries and near misses
- Restraint and apprehension of persons
- Risk assessment and control measures
- Safe operating procedures and instructions for use of equipment and technology
- Security licensing requirements
- Suspected terrorist activity
- Use and maintenance of PPE
- Use of firearms, handcuffs, batons and spray
- Use of force
- Use, storage and disposal of hazardous substances or dangerous items
Each person has a duty of care to his / her fellow person. When working as a security officer, your duty of care extends beyond that of an average citizen, including, for example:
- To protect his or her own health and safety at work
- To avoid adversely affecting the health or safety of any other person through any act or omission at work
- Use any equipment provided for health or safety purposes
- Obey any reasonable instruction
- Comply with any policy
- Ensure that he or she is not affected by the consumption of alcohol or a drug. Many workplaces will have a zero tolerance for use of alcohol and drugs
It is also a duty of an employee to cooperate with the employer regarding any requirement enhancing occupational health and safety.
A person is not allowed to intentionally or recklessly interfere with or misuse anything provided in the interests of health, safety and welfare. This may include misuse of fire extinguishers, having doors locked or jammed, etc.
The principles associated with duty of care are supported by legislation. To that end, an employer must ensure (so far as is reasonable practicable) that the employee is, while at work, safe from injury and risks to health. It is often extremely difficult for employers of security personnel, particularly personnel working as crowd controllers, to ensure that their workplace is safe at all time. The dynamic nature of managing people who may be in an intoxicated or argumentative state is an ongoing challenge for security employers. Professional training for security and crowd control personnel is one example of how employers can meet this challenge.
Legislation requires employers to:
- Provide and maintain so far as is reasonable practicable:
- A safe working environment
- Safe systems of work
- Plant and substances in a safe condition
- Provide adequate facilities of a prescribed kind for the welfare of employees
- Provide such information, instruction, training and supervision as reasonably necessary to ensure that each employee is safe from injury and risks to health
Additional legislative requirements include:
- Keep information and records relating to work related injuries
- Provide information to employees in relation to health, safety and welfare in the workplace
- Ensure that proper information, instruction and training is given
Premises and property
The occupier (and sometimes owner) has certain duties regarding maintaining safe premises. The occupier must ensure that there is safe access and safe egress from premises and sometimes between premises. The buildings and structures must be in good repair, with flooring which prevents slips, for example.
Adequate fire standards must be met which includes fire extinguishers, fire blankets and sometimes fire training. Toilet and wash facilities must be maintained in a clean manner, and supplies of drinking water must be maintained for workers. Adequate lighting, ventilation, space and meal accommodation must be maintained. The workers must be protected from harmful substances and dangerous machinery.
Examples of liability arising from unsafe premises include:
- Metal steps covered in oily water: Australian Oil Refining Co v Bourne
- Injured when moving an object which got caught in a depression in the factory floor: Crisa v John Shearer Ltd
- Injured from fall down stairs which were too steep and had badly worn tread: Langley v State of South Australia
- Employee fell down a hole which was unfenced: Yoo v Allco Steel Co
- Security officer slipped on wet floor where there was no warning sign: (awarded $404,000) Halloran v Frig-Mobile Aust.
- Assault on employee in car park by car thieves gaining access through gate meant to be locked: Public Transport Commission v Sartori
Safe plant and equipment
The operator / owner of plant and equipment used in a workplace have a duty to select and maintain safe plant and equipment. In a security context this would include vehicles, two-way radios or firearms.
A good example of maintaining safe plant is the care and maintenance of a patrol vehicle. The employer is responsible for ensuring that the vehicle is maintained in a safe and roadworthy condition and is currently registered for the purpose (commercial vehicle). This obligation is not limited to large or significant items of plant or equipment. Disposable items like earmuffs, ear plugs, glasses, gloves and hard hats are equally important.
The occupier or owner of premises is not responsible for plant and equipment installed by an independent contractor. An alarm system, camera system or other security devices installed by an external company, for example, are beyond the employer’s control or knowledge. Therefore the correct installation and function of this equipment is the responsibility of the security company.
Examples of liability arising from unsafe plant and equipment include:
- Employee injured whilst working in a noisy environment where ear plugs and ear muffs were necessary (like a crowd controller working front of stage at a rock concert): Zanardo v Continental Check Point P/L
- Failure to provide sunscreens and protective hats (depends on situation)
- Improperly maintained firearm in breach of statutory duty to maintain; injures employee during range practice
- Failure to provide radio / communications: McMillen v Brambles Security Services Limited
Safe systems of work
Developing, communicating and ensuring safe work systems are integral to the obligations of an employer. Examples include:
- The way tasks are performed including the instruction given
- Method of utilising equipment
- Supply of suitable manpower
- Adequate warnings of any danger (e.g. warning signs on machines).
An employer is responsible for instructing employees on dangers arising from work conditions and implementing procedures to eliminate (or at least reduce) those dangers.
Examples of liability arising from unsafe systems of work include:
- Checking on a prisoner in a cell by standing on a toilet bowl with one foot whilst the other foot was on a bed: Lane v State of Qld
- Security guard injured when he fell downstairs when the system of patrol did not allow the employee opportunity to take reasonable care for his own safety when the fall was foreseeable: Johnstone v Wormald Security
- Security guard injured whilst ejecting – attempting to evict patrons when the guard was not employed to evict people: Cvetkovic v Princes Holdings
- Police officer injured in motor vehicle accident after giving evidence in the day and having to work nightshift (happens in security as well). Officer fell asleep at wheel. Should have been another officer to at least accompany them on patrol: Dredge v State of S.A.
- Security officer taken hostage and used in an armed robbery because co-workers inside the armoured truck could not warn him of danger because he was not issued with a radio: McMillen v Brambles Security Services Limited
Chemicals and other substances
Employers need to reduce the risk to employees being exposed to materials, substances and chemicals that may cause injury or disease. Blood transmitted diseases are of particular concern. Wearing gloves at all times when dealing with any form of body fluid is not only a requirement to be included within the employer’s occupational health and safety procedures, but a common sense practice to be adopted by all security personnel.
Examples of liability arising from exposure to materials, chemicals and substances include:
- No protective gloves when cleaning up needles in a nightclub
- Inadequate ventilation of indoor range causing lead poisoning for firearms instructor
- Lack of washing up facilities when exposed to chemicals or substances which may be harmful (i.e. chemical restraints like OC or exposure to blood)
- Lack of sunglasses, sunscreen, hats and long sleeved shirts when working outdoors in the daytime (i.e. a crowd controller at a music festival or a traffic controller at a construction site)
- No CPR mask or latex gloves for performing CPR on a casualty
- No breathing apparatus (or training in its use if it is available) at an industrial site where guards are to act as emergency / rescue personnel in the event of an ammonia spill
Sample OHS policy
|The directors and senior management of Safety First Security Pty Ltd recognise the importance of providing all employees, visitors and contractors with a safe and healthy work environment.
Our goal is to prevent all occupational injuries and illness. The company will seek to achieve this by:
· Identifying and reducing the risks of all types of work activities that have the potential to produce personal injury or occupational illness
· Providing instruction, training and supervision to improve individual’s understanding of workplace hazards, including safe work practices and emergency procedures
· Involving individuals in occupational health and safety matters, and consulting with them on ways to recognise, evaluate and control workplace hazards
· Ensuring that everyone (including visitors and contractors) complies with appropriate standards and workplace directions to protect their own and others health and safety at work
· Providing adequate systems and resources to effectively manage rehabilitation and return-to-work processes
Safety First Security Pty Ltd will implement and maintain an ongoing occupational health and safety program, including conducting regular inspections of the workplace aimed at preventing accidents and incidents.
All managers and supervisors are responsible and accountable for the safety of employees, contractors and company property under their control. Managers and supervisors are responsible for ensuring all regulations, procedures and safe work practices are followed at all times.
All employees are expected to:
· Follow all company safety requirements and relevant codes of practice
· Maintain a clean and orderly work area
· Report all injuries and safety incidents
· Actively participate in safety improvement activities
Senior Site Manager
 Occupational Health & Safety Act (NSW, VIC & ACT)
Occupational Safety & Health Act (WA)
Work Health Act (NT)
 (1980) 28 ALR 529
 (1981) 27 SASR 422
 (1983) 32 SASR 260
 (1995) NSW Supreme Ct CCH Occupational Health & Safety Law 53-165
 (1994) VIC CofA CCH Occupational Health & Safety Law 53-223
 (1986) NSWCA CCH Occupational Health & Safety Law 52-247
  QSC 271
 (1980) QldSC CCH Occupational Health & Safety Law 52-090
 (1985) QldSC CCH Occupational Health & Safety Law 52-143
 (1989) SASC CCH Occupational Health & Safety Law 52-595
 (1994) SASC CCH Occupational Health & Safety Law 53-110
  QSC 271