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PCBUs need to Train their Managers & Supervisors

Weekly WHS Article 23rd March 2022

PCBUs rely on Managers & Supervisors

PCBUs need to use and be able to rely on their Managers and Supervisors to carry out those actions that will help the PCBU to achieve compliance with its WHS duties and obligations.

For example, the Code of Practice, How to Manage Work Health & Safety Risks, has useful guidance at page 23 about PCBUs 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

with workers because;

  • If they do not consult with workers in accordance with the authority delegated to them by the PCBU, then the PCBU cannot comply with the mandatory consultation required by the WHS Act (section 47).

  • They have a personal duty to take “reasonable care” of the health and safety of their workers, WHS Act (section 28). Taking “reasonable care” includes consultation.

  • They naturally are interested in keeping their workers safe and healthy.

“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 so Managers and Supervisors may be required to consult directly with workers, and/or with their Health & Safety Representatives, and/or as management representatives on the Health & Safety Committee.

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.”

The PCBU needs to ensure that their Managers and Supervisors are competent and active in doing that. And that is achieved through training. If they do not know, understand, and implement required health and safety actions then the PCBU will be in breach of their primary duty of care (Section 19).

Training Managers & Supervisors

So, it is very important that the PCBU works out what training has to be given to Managers, Supervisors and other workers, to ensure that everything “reasonably practicable” is done to ensure health and safety in their workplace and that includes consultation (Sections 46 to 49).

Training could include understanding and implementing specifics such as:

  • WHS legal requirements and duty of care for their workplace,

  • their duty of care and what they must do to satisfy it,

  • the WHS responsibilities given to them by the PCBU and what they must do to satisfy those,

  • how their role fits with, and contributes to, the WHS Management System,

  • how to inspect their area of the workplace and identify hazards,

  • how to assess risks and how to select appropriate risk control measures for the workplace they are in,

  • how to effectively consult with Workers, HSR’s and Health & Safety Committee members,

  • how to do an incident investigation.


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

PCBUs need to Train their Managers and Supervisors
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23rd March 2022


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