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WHS Codes of Practice are your friend

Weekly WHS Article 31st August 2023

A model WHS code of practice developed by SafeWork Australia and approved by SafeWork NSW can be a manager's "very good friend" when dealing with the subject that is covered by that code.

For example, the SafeWork NSW Code of Practice, “How to Manage Work Health & Safety Risks” is particularly helpful for officers because officers have the duty to ensure that the business (PCBU) that they make decisions for upholds its overarching duty under WHS law to eliminate or minimise health and safety risks in the workplace, so far as reasonably practicable.

For example, the SafeWork NSW Code of Practice, Managing Psychosocial Hazards at Work can help management make essential changes to your workplace that boosts not only health and safety but also the morale, happiness and general wellbeing of workers.

The benefits of using a code practice

Applying a code of practice in your workplace provides benefits such as;

  1. It is user-friendly, easy to understand and written in plain language.

  2. 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.

  3. It indicates legal requirements that you must comply with by using the word ‘must’, ‘requires’ or ‘mandatory’.

  4. 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.

  5. It gives you knowledge and certainty on what to do about the subject covered by the code including the hazards, risks and risk controls.

  6. 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.

  7. If your workers are trained on applying the advice in a code of practice, and do apply that advice then your workplace will be a much safer and happier place.

Courtenell would be pleased to work with you to achieve these benefits.

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 -

Feel free to share this article if you believe this may be helpful or of use to colleagues or others you know.

31st August 2023

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