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Arts Council Toowoomba has received information about the Queensland Health and Safety Act which commenced 1 january 2012. The committee has taken this on board and considers this an important issue for all our endeavours.  Most of our responsibilies of  “Duty of care” concerns volunteers. The following information has come from Artslink Queensland. All members should also consider the points within their own practice.

With the introduction of “harmonisation” of Workplace Health & Safety legislation across Australia it  is important that Artslink Queensland reiterates our commitment to our obligations with respect to  health and safety. With this in mind Artslink Queensland would like to remind all Local Arts Councils  about the importance and necessary obligations under the health and safety legislation.
In Queensland the Queensland Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (the Act) commenced 1 January  2012. It is important that every Local Arts Council understands the implications of the new legislation as you now need to comply with this legislation.
Firstly – who is considered under your Duty of Care?
Local Arts Councils that employ “workers” would have to comply with the Act as they would be deemed to be a “Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking” (PCBU) as defined in the Act.
A worker is any person who carries out work in any capacity for you, including:
a) An employee
b) A contractor or subcontractor
c) An employee of a labour hire company
d) An outworker
e) An apprentice or trainee
f) A work experience student
g) A volunteer
h) An individual who is a “person who conducts a business or undertaking” who carries out  work in that business or undertaking.
As you can see a worker, under this legislation, covers a wide variety of categories including  volunteers.
It is important that all ‘workers’ are aware of their health and safety obligations and as such it is  essential that Artslink Queensland and all Local Arts Councils are educating their workers through
induction training, meetings, briefings before events, notices on noticeboards and in communal areas  of premises.
Health and safety should be on your meeting agendas and discussion should be taking place with  respect to risk assessment in all areas of the business. It is important that you act now to show that you take Workplace Health & Safety seriously
Key Messages:
• The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 commenced on 1 January 2012 and you need to comply now
• Volunteers are considered equal under your Duty of Care to workers
• Health & Safety should be on your meeting agendas and be discussed regularly
What are your Obligations? – Risk Assessments
Under the new Workplace Health & Safety legislation important principles have been established that apply to a person’s obligations. The introduction of the principle of “reasonably practicable” conveys  the expectation that a person should do all that is reasonably possible in the circumstances that face
that person at a particular time.
This is where conducting a Risk Assessment, whether at the Local Arts Council premises or for an upcoming exhibition or festival, is essential.
A Local Arts Council must be seen to have taken into account some “reasonably practicable” criteria such as:
• The likelihood of a hazard or risk being present or occurring
• The degree of harm that might result from the hazard or risk i.e. consideration of the extent of the hazard or risk and the possible consequences
• The person’s knowledge (or what they ought reasonably to know) about the hazard or risk and the ways of eliminating, avoiding or minimising the risk
• The availability and the suitability of ways to eliminate, avoid, or minimise the risk must be considered. This is likely to involve a consideration of what information, resources are obtainable, accessible and appropriate to the matter at hand
• Once the extent of the risk and options available for eliminating or minimising these risks have been assessed, the cost associated with the available ways of eliminating or minimising the risk should be considered and establish whether the cost is grossly disproportionate to the risk.

Risk assessment and treatment was a significant part of the ACT Waterways project in 2014-15.