If you employ people or operate a workplace that others come to,
and you have been affected by the recent earthquakes, you are
likely to be thinking about your health and safety obligations. In
an emergency situation like this, what is required of those who
control a place of work mostly comes down to common sense. Your key
drivers will be to ensure that people are not exposed to harm. If
there is something that should be done to make a workplace safe,
you will need to do it.
Your obligation is to do what is reasonably practicable, which
means that you do what is suitable in the circumstances to try to
eliminate the risk. If the risk can't be eliminated, then you
minimise the risk. The more likely the risk is to occur, the more
that should be done to eliminate or minimise the risk.
You might need to have greater contact and communication about
health and safety and risks with the other businesses or
organisations with whom you work. You will have overlapping duties
to cooperate and communicate with those businesses or organisations
to eliminate, or minimise, risk of harm.
Similarly, if your property or workplace has been affected, you
need to communicate with others coming there. From a health and
safety point of view, you are responsible for people coming on to
your property, so you need to take whatever measures you reasonably
can to eliminate or minimise risks.
You are likely to need increased communication with the other
businesses that you work with, or which come onto your property.
New or changed risks and hazards will need to be communicated, so
the lines of communication will be very important. If you have
staff, you should think about what needs to be put in place to keep
them safe. This might be in the form of equipment or different ways
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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Sticking to what you know in new employment may backfire when client-specific restraints protect an employer's interest.
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