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WHS Training Using the WHS Law Framework

Weekly WHS Article 31st March 2022

The triangle diagram below is known as the WHS Law Framework or WHS Legislation Framework. It illustrates the relationships between, and the ranking of, the NSW WHS Act, WHS Regulation, Codes of Practice, Standards, and Guidance material.

A PCBU’s WHS policies, and management of their WHS programs, procedures, and systems of work must be in accordance with any relevant material in the WHS Law Framework that applies to their workplace. They will thus be in compliance with WHS legal requirements.

This is why Courtenell always uses and provides in our course packs, the material from the WHS Framework that is relevant to the PCBU’s workplace, and the WHS duties and responsibilities of attendees in the courses that we deliver. We want to help our clients achieve and maintain compliance with WHS legal requirements and have a safe and heathy workplace.

The Components of the WHS Law Framework

The WHS Act

The NSW WHS Act is the law passed by NSW Parliament regarding workplace health and safety. A PCBU must comply with the actions required by the WHS Act.

It sets out the law about matters such as; the WHS duties of the PCBU and all persons in a workplace, the WHS requirements for risk management and consultation with workers, and the role of the SafeWork NSW and its enforcement procedure.

The WHS Regulation

The WHS Regulation provides specific requirements for complying with the WHS Act. They are rules or laws made by government departments using the powers given to them by the WHS Act. A PCBU must comply with the requirements set out in the WHS Regulation.

Codes of Practice

"An approved code of practice provides practical guidance on how to achieve compliance with the work health and safety standards required under the WHS Act and the Work Health and Safety Regulation (WHS Regulation), including effective ways to identify and manage risks."

"Codes of practice are admissible in court proceedings under the WHS Act and the WHS Regulation. Courts may regard a code of practice as evidence of what is known about a hazard, risk or control and may rely on the code in determining what is reasonably practicable in the circumstances to which the code relates."

"The words ‘must’ or ‘require’ indicates that a legal requirement exists and must be met, ‘should’ indicates a recommended course of action, and ‘may’ an optional course of action." (The above quotations are from page 4 of the Foreword of the Code of Practice, Managing Psychological Hazards at Work)

Australian Standards

An Australian Standard provides guidelines relating to the design, operation and maintenance of equipment and systems, it sets out technical specifications or other matters necessary to ensure that a material, or method will consistently do the job it is intended to do. The standards are not law but sometimes a State or Federal Government has included an Australian Standard in a law and therefore made it a legal requirement to comply with that standard.

Guidance Notes

Guidance notes or material contain detailed information to assist persons to implement the requirements of legislation, codes and standards. They are issued by organisations such as SafeWork NSW, SafeWork Australia, and Standards Australia.


The quotations from the, Managing Psychosocial Hazards at Work Code of Practice, are used under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Licence. The Department of Customer Service, State of NSW is the owner. For more information, visit

WHS Training Using the WHS Law Framework
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31st March 2022


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