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How to Ensure that WHS Risk Controls Remain Effective

WHS Regulation 37 states that a risk control must be maintained so that it remains effective, and that includes ensuring that the control measure is and remains;

“(a) fit for purpose, and (b) suitable for the nature and duration of the work, and (c) installed, set up and used correctly.” If we don’t maintain a risk control so that it is effective then the PCBU will not be in compliance with WHS Regulation 37 and also Section 19 Primary Duty of Care in the WHS Act. Fortunately the Code of Practice, How to Manage Work Health & Safety Risks, has useful guidance at page 17 under the heading of How to Ensure that Controls Remain Effective: “The following actions may help you monitor the control measures you have implemented and ensure that they remain effective: Accountability for health and safetyAccountability should be clearly allocated to ensure procedures are followed and maintained. Managers and supervisors should be provided with the authority and resources to implement and maintain control measures effectively. Maintenance of plant and equipmentThis will involve regular inspection and testing, repair or replacement of damaged or worn plant and equipment. It includes checking that any control measures are suitable for the nature and duration of work, are set up and used correctly. Up-to-date training and competencyControl measures, particularly lower level controls, depend on all workers and supervisors having the appropriate competencies to do the job safely. Training should be provided to maintain competencies and to ensure new workers are capable of working safely. Up-to-date hazard information – Information about hazards, such as plant and substances, may be updated by manufacturers and suppliers and should be checked to make sure controls are still relevant. New technology may provide more effective solutions than were previously available. Changes to operating conditions or the way activities are carried out may also mean that control measures need to be updated. Regular review and consultation – Control measures are more effective where there is regular review of work procedures and consultation with your workers and their representatives.” Reviewing the above action steps in the context of your workplace would help to identify potential weak points in your risk controls. Note: The quotations from the, How to Manage Work Health & Safety Risks Code of Practice, are the copyright work of Safe Work Australia and are used under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia Licence (CC BY 3.0). To view a copy of this licence, visit


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