Workplace Health and Safety Management Systems and Auditing Guidelines (NSW 5th Edition)

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The key changes from the 4th edition to the 5th edition


The main changes in editions were to align the Guidelines with the WHS Act 2011 and WHS Regulations 2011, so this included:

  • Change of terminology to include the new terms defining Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU), worker and officer
  • The principle of ensuring safety so far as is reasonably practicable
  • Due diligence obligations of officers
  • New requirements for the PCBU who commissions construction work to provide information to the designer
  • New requirements for PCBUs who commission construction work to provide complete and up to date asbestos registers for contractors undertaking refurbishment and demolition work
  • Revised requirements for safe work method statements

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The 12 Key Elements of a WHS Management System


    1. Senior Management commitment

This Element is about the contractor setting their policies and objectives and also their responsibilities and commitments to WHS. The resources that will be devoted to achieving the goals and objectives need to be stipulated. It is important for the organisation to establish senior management commitment to the desired outcomes.

    1. Communication and Consultation

In this element the organisation needs to establish its process for sharing information with workers and other contractors including sub contractors. Also to be documented is the process by which each of these stakeholders will have the opportunity to raise WHS issues that may arise as part of the project.

    1. Managing subcontractors and consultants

This element is about showing how subcontractors will be selected and managed during the project. It is important that all subcontractors are given targets to be measured by for their WHS performance. Compliance with WHS standards by the sub contractors is also an important part of this element.

    1. Design

This element is about defining a process that aims to identify and eliminate or minmise WHS risk that may arise through the project at the planning and design phase. Addressing WHS risk at this stage is often easier and cheaper to achieve than later on when the issues become real on the construction site.

    1. Risk Management

This element documents the process of identifying WHS hazards, assessing the risk and planning work processes to control those risks. This information will include the process in the development and implementation of Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS) and identification of hazardous processes (including High Risk Construction Work)

    1. Training

This element involves the organisation establishing how it allocates resources to identifying and providing for the training needs of its workers. Training programs will include WHS induction, task specific training, emergency response and WHS committee to name a few.

    1. Inspection, testing and servicing

This element is about establishing procedures for planning and conducting WHS inspection, testing and monitoring on work sites and for plant and equipment use, work processes and incoming products. Another aspect that needs to be included is health surveillance and monitoring and the servicing of plant and equipment.

    1. Incident management and corrective action

In this element the organisation is indicating the process for managing incidents, to control the use of products and work practices that do not meet WHS requirements. The incident management process needs to also include the process for reporting and rectifying incidents that arise. The Incident Investigation methodology that will be utilised also needs to be documented at this element.

    1. Purchasing, handling, storage, packaging and delivery

The organisation in this element will need to have processes in place to ensure that all materials equipment and plant purchased or hired conform to the required WHS standard. The other aspect will be for procedures to be established around the handling, storage, packaging and delivery of various products including materials that may or may not be Hazardous Substances.

    1. Client reporting and project performance measurement

Within this element it is about establishing procedures that show the regular monitoring of a contractors performance against WHS objectives and targets that have been defined by the contractor. This element will also need to define the process for reporting WHS performance / issues to the client.

    1. Internal reviews

This element is about establishing procedures for planning and undertaking internal audits and other review to verify the on-site WHS processes and practices match the relevant plans and procedures. Basically, what has been documented that will be done is actually happening on the ground.

    1. Documentation and records

For this element procedures need to be established that clearly outline the control, approval, dissemination, withdrawal, storage and disposal of WHS documents, data and other records.

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