This guidance note Note Working Alone is issued by the Commission for Occupational Safety and Health (the Commission) under the provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 (the OSH Act).
The introduction of the OSH Act enabled the establishment of the tripartite Commission, which comprises representatives of employers, unions and government, as well as experts. It has the function of developing the occupational safety and health legislation and supporting guidance material, and making recommendations to the Minister for Commerce for their implementation. To fulfil its functions, the Commission is empowered to establish advisory committees, hold public inquiries, and publish and disseminate information.
The Commission’s objective is to promote comprehensive and practical preventive strategies that improve the working environment of Western Australians. This guidance note has been developed through a tripartite consultative process and the views of employers and unions, along with those of government and experts have been considered.
Scope and application of this guidance note
This guidance note applies to all workplaces in Western Australia covered by the OSH Act. It provides guidance for employers and workers on the management of safety and health hazards and risks that may arise in relation to hazards that arise from working alone and some of the legislative requirements in the OSH Act and Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996 (the OSH regulations).
It is not possible to deal with every situation that may be found at workplaces. Therefore, the practical guidance in this document should be considered in conjunction with the general duties in the OSH Act, as well as specific requirements in the OSH Act and the OSH regulations.
Legislative framework for occupational safety and health Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984
The OSH Act provides for the promotion, co-ordination, administration and enforcement of occupational safety and health in Western Australia. It applies to all industries with the exception of mining and petroleum.
With the objective of preventing occupational injuries and diseases, the OSH Act places certain duties on employers, workers, self-employed people, manufacturers, designers, importers and suppliers.
The broad duties established by the OSH Act are supported by a further tier of statute, commonly referred to as regulations, together with non-statutory codes of practice and guidance notes.
Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996
The OSH regulations have the effect of spelling out specific requirements of the legislation.
They may prescribe minimum standards and have a general application, or define specific requirements related to a particular hazard or type of work. They may also allow licensing or granting of approvals and certificates etc.
If there is a regulation about a risk in the OSH regulations, it must be complied with.
If there is a code of practice about a risk, either: • do what the code of practice says; or • adopt and follow another way that gives the same level of protection against the risk.
If there is no regulation or code of practice about a risk, choose an appropriate way and take reasonable precautions and exercise proper diligence to ensure obligations are met.
Guidance notes and guidelines
A guidance note or guideline is an explanatory document providing detailed information on the requirements of legislation, regulations, standards, codes of practice or matters relating to occupational safety and health, as approved by the Commission.