Meeting your legal obligation in terms of designing a workplace is obviously very important. However, there are many ways to meet your obligations, so how do you know which option to chose? Or if you are even doing enough?
A designer’s overriding responsibility in terms of OH&S is to meet the requirements of section 28 of the OH&S Act 2004. This section stipulates that the designer has a duty to ensure that a building or structure, designed by them, that is intended to be used as a workplace, is safe and without risk to the health of persons using it as a workplace.
The process for achieving this includes performing adequate risk assessments. The quality of which should match risk assessments that are performed by OH&S professionals during the course of workplace use. Involving OH&S professionals during the design stage ensures that you are meeting your legal obligations to the best of your ability; you will be assessing the risks to the same standard that risks are assessed during its use as a workplace.
Ergonomics can be used to identify and assess risks that may not be so obvious. Designed with Care uses knowledge about human variation, functional capacity, expectations, environmental, social, and psychosocial factors to perform quality assessments during the design stage of the building, assisting the designer to meet their legal obligations to the best of their ability.
For more information about the responsibilities of a designer, download this guide to Section 28 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004. Designing_Safer_Buildings_and_Structures
(Document from Worksafe Victoria)