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Managers & Supervisors need to be trained

Weekly WHS Article 23rd March 2022

Business owners, Directors, and CEOs rely on their Managers & Supervisors

Company Directors, CEOs, and business owners need to use and be able to rely on their Managers and Supervisors to carry out actions that will help them ensure that the business itself (PCBU) is being in compliance with its WHS duties and obligations and to help them carry out their own duties as Officers under Section 27 of the WHS Act.

For example, the Code of Practice, How to Manage Work Health & Safety Risks, has useful guidance at page 23 about giving authority and resources to Managers and Supervisors.

“Accountability for health and safety –Managers and supervisors should be provided with the authority and resources to implement and maintain control measures effectively. Accountability should be clearly allocated to ensure procedures are followed and maintained.”

Managers and Supervisors also have an important part to play in WHS consultation because:

  • If they do not consult with workers in accordance with the authority delegated to them by the officers of the PCBU, then the PCBU's mandatory duty to consult workers on WHS matters is not going to be met. Officers may be held personally liable for WHS breaches and may face hefty fines or jail time for serious incidents, such as incidents resulting in the death of workers. Incidents happen because of failures of the WHS management system. Consultation is a key contributing factor to the success of the WHS management system.

  • As workers themselves, managers and supervisors must take reasonable care of their own health and safety as well as the people they work with. Workers have this duty under Section 28 of the WHS Act. Any WHS matters that need resolving must include consultation with persons whom may be affected by the matter.

“Management commitment and open communication between managers and workers is important in achieving effective consultation. Your workers are more likely to engage in consultation when their knowledge and ideas are actively sought and concerns about health and safety are taken seriously.” (SafeWork NSW Code of Practice, Work Health & Safety Consultation, Co-operation and Co-ordination)

Consultation procedures can vary from one workplace to another.

However it is done, it will often be through the management team that this is done and information is obtained. Where workers are represented by Health and a Safety Representatives, HSRs must be present and participate in discussions. The management representatives of a Health and Safety Committee are representing the PCBU and table matters at the meetings that senior management needs to address.

Effective Consultation

As described in the SafeWork NSW Code of Practice, Work Health & Safety Consultation, Co-operation and Co-ordination, effective consultation;

“is a 2-way process between you and your workers where you;

  • Talk to each other about health & safety matters

  • Listen to their concerns and raise your concerns

  • Seek and share views and information

  • Consider what your workers say before making decisions.”

Training Managers & Supervisors

It is very important that all persons involved in WHS consultation know who are the specific duty holders under WHS Law what duties they and others have. Training in WHS fundamentals is essential. These have to be understood before tackling WHS risk management and WHS consultation. The first step is to train managers and supervisors on WHS Law. Courtenell offers this training. See here


The quotations from the, How to Manage Work Health & Safety Risks Code of Practice, and the Work Health & Safety Consultation, Co-operation and Co-ordination, Code of Practice, are the copyright work of SafeWork NSW and are used under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia Licence (CC BY 3.0). To view a copy of this licence, visit

23rd March 2022


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