WHS Obligations Overview (NSW) Training Module



This WHS Obligations Overview (NSW) Training Module provides an overview of WHS compliance obligations of businesses, employers and their workers under the WHS Laws in New South Wales.

This module is part of the Work Health and Safety Training course.

Related training modules

  1. WHS Consultation Requirements (NSW) Training Module
  2. Manual Handling Requirements (NSW) Training Module
  3. Breach Reporting Training Module
  4. WHS Practical Guidance Training Module

Module structure

  1. Work Health and Safety Training
  2. Work health and safety laws
  3. Primary duty of care
  4. FAQs: Standard of care
  5. Definition of workers
  6. Scenario 1: Who are your workers?
  7. Responsibilities of employers
  8. Scenario 2: Duty of care
  9. Consultation requirements
  10. Responsibilities of officers and office holders
  11. Responsibilities of workers
  12. Summary
  13. Assessment

Module duration

1 hour

Module participants

This module is intended for directors, officers, office holders, executives and managers.


Module transcript

NSW Work Health and Safety Obligations Overview

Overview of work health and safety obligations of businesses and their officers and workers

Content

Work health and safety laws

Primary duty of care

Consultation requirements

Definition of workers

Responsibilities of employers

Preliminary information

This NSW WHS Obligations Overview training module is a module within the Work Health and Safety Training course.

The Work Health and Safety Training course is an extensive program covering training on all key WHS requirements and obligations of employers, businesses and other organisations subject to work health and safety laws.

For a full list of training modules, go to:

Compliance Library > Work Health and Safety Training

Preliminary information

Capitalised terms are defined in the Glossary:

Compliance Library > Glossary

The transcript for this training module is available from its the online page. You will be redirected to the page at the end of this module.

Module Objectives

By the end of this module, you will have gained the following skills:

Knowledge of work health and safety laws in NSW

An understanding of health and safety responsibilities of officers, office holders

Knowledge of health and safety obligations of businesses and employers

An understanding of health and safety responsibilities of workers

An understanding of the scope of a business or employer’s health and safety primary duty of care

An understanding of the role of health and safety representatives and committees

NSW work health and safety laws

Section 1

Model WHS laws

Each state and territory in Australia has their own set of work health and safety legislation.

The work health and safety laws for the Commonwealth and all states and territories, except for Victoria and Western Australia, have been harmonised under the model WHS Laws.

Model WHS laws

The model WHS Laws are a single set of work health and safety laws developed by Safe Work Australia, an Australian government statutory body established to develop national policy relating to WHS and workers’ compensation.

Model WHS laws

The model WHS Laws include:

  • the model WHS Act;
  • the model WHS Regulations;
  • model Codes of Practice.

While WA and Victoria have not yet implemented the model WHS Laws, their work health and safety laws impose similar health and safety obligations on businesses and employers.

NSW WHS laws

In New South Wales, the model WHS laws have been adopted through the enactment of the NSW WHS Laws and supported by the NSW WHS Codes of Practice.

Apart from the NSW WHS Laws, the NSW WHS Regulator has also produced compliance and prosecution guidelines which govern their approach to enforcement of NSW WHS Laws.

Primary duty of care

Section 2

Primary duty of care

The NSW WHS Laws apply to a ‘person conducting a business or undertaking’ (PCBU) in NSW.

If you are an organisation who employs people or are a charity who has volunteers helping to run a shop, then you are a PCBU.

Primary duty of care

PCBUs include all types of entities ranging from public and private companies and partners in a partnership to sole traders and self employed people.

PCBUs also include government departments and authorities, associations if they have one or more employees, local government councils, independent schools and universities.

Primary duty of care

In this training module, we will use the generic term “employer” to mean all PCBUs who fall within the scope of the WHS Laws.

Primary duty of care

  • An employer owes a primary duty of care to ensure the health and safety of their workers; and
  • An employer owes a second primary duty of care to ensure that the health and safety of other persons is not put at risk by its workers who are carrying out work as part of the employer’s activities

Standard of care

The standard of care that an employer must take to ensure health and safety of workers and others under the NSW WHS Laws is as far as is “reasonably practicable”.

Standard of care

The WHS Standard of Care required to be taken by the PCBU to ensure the health and safety of its workers and others is as far as ‘reasonably practicable’.

This means that the PCBU must take reasonable action to minimise risks to health and safety taking into account likelihood of recurrence and severity of consequences.

Definition of workers

Section 3

Who are your workers?

An employer’s workers may include all of the following individuals:

  • Employees
  • Contractors and sub-contractors
  • Employees of contractors or sub-contractors
  • Employees of labour hire company assigned to work in the employer’s premises
  • Outworkers
  • Apprentices and trainees

Scenario 1: Who are your workers?

Responsibilities of employers

Section 4

What are your main WHS responsibilities?

Key health and safety responsibilities of employers are to:

  • Ensure health and safety of workers
  • Ensure health and safety of others
  • Maintain a safe work environment

What are your main WHS responsibilities?

  • Maintain safe plant and structures
  • Maintain safe systems of work
  • Provide for safe use, handling and storage of plant, structures and substances
  • Provide for welfare of workers at work
  • Provide for information, training, supervision necessary to protect workers from risks to health and safety

What are your main WHS responsibilities?

  • Ensure health of workers and workplace conditions monitored to prevent illness and injury
  • Maintain safe furniture, fixtures and fittings
  • Ensure workplace and means of entering and exiting workplace are not at risk to health and safety of workers or others
  • Ensure only qualified workers perform licenced activities and comply with conditions of licence

Scenario 2: Duty of care

Obligations when an accident happens

When an accident happens, an employer must:

Specific activities and businesses

High risk businesses

Food safety, product safety  & facilities management

Health and safety obligations for food handling, product usage, manual handling, electricity, facilities, hazardous or toxic chemicals and other standard activities generally present in workplaces also require special consideration.

Businesses involved in construction work, demolitions and excavations, diving, asbestos removal, hazardous atmospheres and other high risk activities are subject to additional obligations under WHS regulations

To learn more about health and safety obligations and requirements for specific businesses and activities, view relevant modules in:

Work Health and Safety Training

Resources

Consultation requirements

Section 5

Responsibilities of officers and office holders

Section 6

Responsibilities of officers and office holders

Officers and Office Holders of an employer organisation must:

  • Exercise due diligence to ensure that the employer complies with all of its WHS obligations under the WHS Laws
  • Keep up-to-date with WHS matters

Responsibilities of officers and office holders

  • Gain understanding of nature of business operations, hazards and risks associated with those operations
  • Ensure that the employer has available for use, and uses, appropriate resources and processes to eliminate or minimise risks to health and safety

Responsibilities of officers and office holders

  • Ensure that the employer has appropriate processes for receiving and considering information regarding incidents, hazards and risks and responding in a timely way to that information
  • Ensure that the employer has, and implements, processes for complying with any WHS duty or obligation under WHS Laws
  • Verify the provision and use of the resources and processes for WHS

Responsibilities of workers and visitors

Section 7

Responsibilities of workers and visitors

Under WHS Laws, workers and all other persons (e.g. visitors) must:

  • take reasonable care for their own health and safety
  • take reasonable care that their acts or omissions do not adversely affect the health and safety of others

Responsibilities of workers and visitors

  • comply with, as far as reasonably able, any reasonable instruction given by the employer to allow the employer to comply with its WHS duties and obligations
  • not use any plant or substance or carry out any work unless proper authorisation is provided
  • comply with conditions of authorisation, where required

Responsibilities of workers and visitors

In addition, workers must comply with any reasonable policy or procedure implemented by the employer that has been notified to them.

Summary

NSW has adopted the model WHS Laws which apply in all states and territories in Australia except for WA and VIC.

Employers owe a primary duty of care to ensure the health and safety of their workers

Employers also owe a primary duty of care to ensure that the health and safety of others are not put at risk through the actions or omissions of their workers when carrying out their work or activities

Summary

An employer’s workers include all individuals conducting work or activities for or at the direction of the employer

Employers have many obligations under WHS Laws including ensuring safe working environment, safe working practices and processes and safe facilities, plant and structures

Employers must consult with workers (and other employers, where relevant) on health and safety matters

Summary

Officers and office holders of an employer organisation have a responsibility to ensure that the organisation fulfils its WHS duties and obligations

Workers and visitors have an obligation to take reasonable care of their own health and safety

Workers and visitors have a duty to comply with all reasonable instructions on health and safety matters of the employer

Congratulations!

You have completed this module.

You may move on to the next training module that has been assigned to you in your Compliance Training Schedule.



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