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Courtenell Pty Ltd

as Trustee for the Vowles Family Trust

WHS Training Specialists, Sydney, Australia  

train@courtenell.com.au ~ PO Box 622 Broadway NSW 2007

ABN: 42164393628 ~ ACN: 050109281

Finance Approval for WHS Expenses

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Understanding the Role of your HSRs


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Because of your role and responsibilities in your organisation you may sometimes need to seek approval for a WHS Budget or WHS expenditure that you propose. But the finance approval body or person has other demands on the available funds and sometimes your proposed expenditure may be modified or delayed.  


This article has been written to hopefully suggest information that you find useful and could consider including in your WHS expenditure proposal. You might already do so. But if not it might strengthen your proposal and your finance approval people may appreciate having the facts.


Health & Safety Duties of PCBU & Officers

The majority of WHS expenses that you need to incur would probably be for the things listed within section 19 and 27 of the WHS Act.

Section 19 WHS Act: PCBUs Primary Duty of Care.

Section 19 (3) says that a PCBU must ensure so far as reasonably practicable that:

the work environment is without risks to health and safety

the plant and structures are safe

the systems of work are safe

the use, handling, and storage of plant, structures, and substances are safe  

there are adequate facilities for the welfare at work of workers

information, training, instruction or supervision that is necessary to protect all persons from risks to their health and safety arising from work is provided  

that the health of workers and the conditions at the workplace are monitored for the purpose of preventing illness or injury of workers  


Section 27 WHS Act : Due Diligence and the PCBU’s Officers

Section 27 of the WHS Act covers the duty that applies to Officers of the PCBU. The due diligence that Officers must exercise includes the following step:  


“(e) to ensure that the person conducting the business or undertaking has, and implements, processes for complying with any duty or obligation of the person conducting the business or undertaking under this Act,  

Example. For the purposes of paragraph (e), the duties or obligations under this Act of a person conducting a business or undertaking may include:

reporting notifiable incidents,

consulting with workers,

ensuring compliance with notices issued under this Act,

ensuring the provision of training and instruction to workers about work  health and safety,

ensuring that health and safety representatives receive their entitlements to   training.”


Financial Penalties: Not Complying with a Health & Safety Duty

Apart from the safety and legal compliance factors above there are the financial penalties for not complying with a health and safety duty. Section 33 of the WHS Act states that the maximum penalty for a corporate PCBU can be $500,000 and a maximum of $100,000 for an Officer.


Examples of Other Compliance Requirements

1. A PCBU has to consult with workers and the maximum penalty for not doing so is $100,000 for a corporate PCBU (section 47 – 49 WHS Act)


2. If a HSR wants to be trained as a HSR then the PCBU is required to have them trained as soon as practicable within 3 months of their election. Maximum penalty for non-compliance is $50,000 for a corporate PCBU (section 72 WHS Act).  


Recommendations

It is not practical to list all the compliance requirements and penalties in the WHS Act and WHS Regulations that go with them.


But we do recommend that when submitting a proposal for a WHS expenditure that you include all the relevant facts you can so that the finance approving body has all the facts they need to make a considered decision. You may find it helpful to do a word search on the WHS Act, the WHS Regulations, and applicable Code of Practice as a means of gathering relevant facts for your proposal.