What is OHS?

Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) is about protecting workers from harm at work. This includes protecting workers from:

  • death and injury (safety)
  • disease and illness (health)

where these might be caused by factors or practices in the workplace.

Health and safety is a part of all aspects of work and includes:

  • hazards such as chemicals, moving and lifting and dangerous machinery. These are referred to as physical hazards
  • hazards such as abusive customers, bullying and stress. These are referred to as psychological hazards
  • the way jobs are organised such as the length of shifts, whether workers are supervised or work alone and whether they work in one location or move from place to place to work
  • the facilities and provisions to keep workers safe and healthy such as buildings, first aid, protective clothing and lighting.

Protecting workers from injury, illness or death at work is considered important in Australia and there are laws about keeping workers safe in all workplaces.

People work in a range of different workplaces, for example:

  • Building sites
  • Shops
  • Restaurants
  • Factories
  • Offices
  • Cabins of trucks
  • Homes
  • Concert and sporting venues
  • Camps in the bush where trees are cut for timber.

OHS laws apply to all of these workplaces, and many more. The laws also make clear the importance of communicating and consulting with workers to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to contribute to making workplaces safe.

If you want to know more about OHS laws have a look at the section Regulatory information

There's lots more information on this site about OHS but if you want to find out even more, go to WorkSafe Victoria's website.


More information

WorkSafe Victoria, Your Health and Safety Guide to Managing Young Workers

This guide has been written for employers to better understand the issues in managing the health and safety of young workers and contains a broad overview of OHS requirements.