The Benefits of Using WHS Codes of Practice
Weekly WHS Article 14th February 2022
Two of our recent WHS articles (ref 1), explored the meaning, frequency and implications of the word ‘ensure’, in the WHS Act and WHS Regulation.
The word ‘ensure’ is also used in approved WHS codes of practice but a code of practice has 5 more significant words that you can find below in this article.
A model WHS code of practice developed by SafeWork Australia and approved by SafeWork NSW can be a PCBU’s ‘very good friend’ when dealing with the subject that is covered by that code.
For example, the Code of Practice: “How to Manage Work Health & Safety Risks” is particularly helpful for a PCBU because they have the key duty to eliminate or minimise health and safety risks in their workplace so far as reasonably practicable.
Benefits of using a code practice
Applying a code of practice in your workplace provides benefits such as;
It is user-friendly, easy to understand and written in plain language.
It gives you practical guidance in how to achieve the standards of health, safety and welfare required under the WHS Act and the WHS Regulations and provides effective ways to identify and manage risks.
It indicates legal requirements that you must comply with by using the word ‘must’, ‘requires’ or ‘mandatory’ (ref 2).
It recommends actions you could take to comply with legal requirements by using the word ‘should’ and uses the word ‘may’ to indicate an optional action you could take.
It gives you knowledge and certainty on what to do about the subject covered by the code including the hazards, risks and risk control.
It gives you peace of mind because usually a SafeWork NSW Inspector or a Court can accept that what you did in following a code satisfies the requirement that a PCBU do everything reasonably practicable to ensure health and safety regarding the subject covered by that Code.
You can find a list of codes of practice that apply to NSW workplaces on SafeWork NSW’s website - copy and paste this link to SafeWork NSW’s website - https://www.safework.nsw.gov.au/resource-library/list-of-all-codes-of-practice
1. “Ensure – One of the Most Important Words in WHS”, and “Ensure – Continued”, on Courtenell’s website
2. Code of Practice – “How to Manage Work Health and Safety Risks” page 4
14th February 2022