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What is Work Health & Safety Risk Management?

Weekly WHS Article 30th May 2024

WHS risk management is the systematic process of identifying hazards, assessing the risks associated with those hazards, instituting control measures that will minimise or eliminate the risks, and reviewing the control measures periodically to reaffirm they are effective. (Note this is different from business risk management such as financial and intellectual property risk.)


The WHS Regulation 2017 states that it is the duty of a Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) to manage risks in the workplace.


A business (PCBU) must identify reasonably foreseeable hazards and must 

(a) eliminate risks to health and safety so far as is reasonably practicable, and 

(b) if it is not reasonably practicable to eliminate risks to health and safety—minimise those risks so far as is reasonably practicable. 

WHS law tells us that Directors of the business must ensure that this legal requirement translates into real-world actions and measures that exist and are known and followed in the workplace. Directors may be personally liable for a breach. 

Supervisors and Managers must ensure staff follow the protocols and controls in place for risks that have been managed. These may include proper manual handling techniques, handling chemicals, using machinery and tools correctly, and wearing of appropriate PPE.  


As of 2022, in NSW psychosocial hazards and risks are to be managed in the same way as hazards and risks which may cause physical harm.

Information, Training, and Instruction

Clause 39 of the WHS Regulation 2017 requires that a PCBU must provide information, training and instruction for workers (this includes supervisors, managers, and team leaders) which is suitable and adequate having regard to:


  1. the nature of the work that they do

  2. the nature of the risks associated with the work they do, and

  3. the control measures


When risks have been managed, it is enforceable that workers follow any and all controls that have been put in place if the risk or hazard was not able to be eliminated entirely. Every worker has this duty to themselves and to others whom they work or interact with while at work.

Courtenell offers options for learning and improving on WHS risk management for all industries. 

Feel free to contact one of knowledgeable and experienced training consultants on 02 9552 2066. Stephen Georgulis @ or Kevin Gaskell @ are available to assist you.

30th May 2024

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