For employers

Protecting your lungs at work

As an employer, you have certain responsibilities under Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) legislation. Namely, you must provide and maintain a working environment that is safe and free of risks to health, so far as is reasonably practicable.

Your role


Know your responsibilities

The regulation agency in your state or territory outlines your responsibilities as an employer.
Learn more

Conduct risk assessments

A risk assessment involves considering what could happen if someone is exposed to a hazard and the likelihood of it happening. Risk assessments make sure jobs are done safely and efficiently.

Implement the Hierarchy of Controls

As an employer, you must ensure that the highest possible standards are in place to protect your employees’ lung health by implementing the Hierarchy of Controls. The Hierarchy of Controls refers to actions you must take to eliminate or minimise health and safety risks so far as is reasonably practicable.

Organise health monitoring

If your employees work with certain hazardous agents, they are required to participate in health monitoring (also known as health surveillance) under WHS legislation. In some industries, as an employer, you are required to organise it and cover the costs. Health monitoring is conducted by a registered medical practitioner and involves examination and ongoing monitoring to see if the agents your employees are exposed to are affecting their health.
Learn about health monitoring

Conform to Workplace Exposure Standards (WES)

A WES represents the concentration of an airborne hazardous agent (e.g. silica dust) within a worker’s breathing zone that should not cause adverse health effects or undue harm. WES vary depending on the type of hazardous agent.
Learn more about WES

Issue Safety Data Sheets (SDS)

SDS are documents that provide essential information about hazardous agents, such as the ingredients, health and physical hazards, safe handling and storage procedures, emergency procedures and disposal considerations. As an employer, you must obtain an up-to-date SDS for each product in your workplace, and ensure your employees have access to these at all times.
Learn more about SDS

Hierarchy of Controls

The Hierarchy of Controls are ranked from the highest level of protection and reliability (elimination) to the lowest (Personal Protective Equipment – PPE).

  • Elimination – eliminate the agent/ hazard entirely
  • Substitution – substitute the agent / hazard with a safer alternative
  • Engineering controls – either isolate employees from the agent (through distance or barriers) or adapt the workplace (such as by using ventilation systems), tools or equipment
  • Administrative controls – implement training, rules and procedures to manage exposure to the agent (such as by making changes to daily work processes)
  • PPE – ensure employees are wearing properly fitted PPE (e.g. a respirator) that is specifically designed for the hazardous agent they are working with. It is important to note PPE is not adequate to prevent further exposure to the hazardous agent.

Occupational Lung Disease National Directory

For information about health monitoring, visit our Occupational Lung Disease National Directory. Filter on “employer” and “health monitoring”, and then select your location.
Find out more

Protect yourself

It’s important to remember that while you have responsibilities as an employer, you are still exposed to hazardous agents, just like your employees. As such, you are still at risk of developing an Occupational Lung Disease. Visit the Employees tab for information on how to protect your lung health at work.

Disclaimer: This information is a guide only. It’s important you refer to the WHS standards and relevant regulating agency in your industry and state / territory.