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How do the National Principles relate to work health and safety?

Australia has a national scheme for work health and safety (WHS) that aims to protect and promote the health and safety of workers and other persons in the workplace. The reference to ‘other persons’ means that employers have a duty of care to clients and visitors, including children and young people, in places of work.

All organisations should consider the management of visitors, family members, children and young people in the workplace in order to ensure their safety.

For organisations working with children and young people, Principle 8 of the National Principles covers physical and online environments and the importance of developing strategies to manage potential risks.

Organisations should consider the physical spaces where visitors, families and children interact, the facilities in which services are provided, and communication protocols about access to and use of online technologies.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse noted that there could be benefit in aligning child safety and WHS requirements of organisations.

Tools and resources are available to assist organisations in meeting their work health and safety responsibilities. For more information on the WHS scheme, see Safe Work Australia.