Back to the Future - Workplace Health and Safety Officer Role Returns to Queensland Back to the Future - Workplace Health and Safety Officer Role Returns to Queensland

Back to the Future - Workplace Health and Safety Officer Role Returns to Queensland

Apr 11, 2019

  • Workplace Health and Safety Officer (WHSO) role returns to Queensland
  • Role designed to assist businesses to mitigate risk
  • Training program now available or can apply based on eligibility criteria

The Queensland Parliament has recently passed amendments to the Work Health Safety Act 2011 that includes the reintroduction of the role of the Workplace Health and Safety Officer (WHSO) within a PCBU (Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking).

The engagement of a WHSO can be used as evidence that steps have been taken to mitigate Health and Safety Risks and as at July 1, 2018, holders of a Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety (BSB41415) became eligible to apply for a certificate of authority from Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ).

This also refers to holders of equivalent or higher-level tertiary qualifications.

Alternatively, WHSQ has finalised a specific WHSO training program that is deliverable only by approved Registered Training Organisations. WorkSafe Connect has been formally approved to offer this training program as part of its Work Health and Safety Skill Set of Courses which also includes:

  • Workplace Health and Safety Awareness Training
  • Health and Safety Representative (HSR) - Full (5-days) and Refresher (1-day)
  • Workplace Health and Safety Essentials (3-day program)
  • Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety
  • Workplace Health and Safety Officer (WHSO)

What is the role of a Workplace Health and Safety Officer?

The primary role of a WHSO is to assist a PCBU in complying with safety obligations with general functions including:

  • Notification of the PCBU about work health and safety matters
  • Identification of hazards and risks to health and safety arising from the work
  • Reporting (in writing) to the PCBU any hazards and risks identified arising from the work
  • Immediately notifying the PCBU about:
    • Any incident the WHSO is aware has occurred at the business or undertaking
    • Any immediate or imminent risk to health and safety at the business or undertaking
    • Investigation, or assistance in the investigation of, any incidents that occurred at the business or undertaking
    • Accompanying and assisting an inspector during an inspection of the business or undertaking
    • Establishing educational and training programs on matters relating to work health and safety

Any person in the workplace can be appointed as a WHSO, however, they must complete appropriate training and hold a WHSO certificate of authority.

Work Place Health and Safety Queensland have created an information guide regarding the WHSO role and this can be found here.

For more information regarding the role of a WHSO, WHSO training or our Work Health and Safety Skill Set of Courses please contact the WorkSafe Connect team.

Source: Worksafe Qld

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