Work Health & Safety - Who Cares

WHS Act - A Very Caring Body of Law

Newcomers to the Work Health & Safety Act may not necessarily immediately see that this Act is a very caring body of law. Yes, there is a lot of must do in the Act but that must do is aimed at taking care of people and doing what is reasonably practicable to avoid injury or mishap to anyone in the workplace.


Care - A Natural Human Endeavour & Asset

Focussing on taking care of others is not something newly invented by the WHS Act. It is something that most human beings do naturally in all their activities in or out of a workplace. It is a major survival agreement as most of the human race does take care for others or at least they do the best they can.


In Australia we all have a duty of care which is a legal obligation under Australian common law to take reasonable steps to not cause foreseeable harm to another person or their property. Our desire to safeguard and take care of others is reflected in the law in the WHS Act.


Care – A Few Examples from the WHS Act

Here are a few examples of care from the requirements in the WHS Act:


Section 3 of the WHS Act tells us that;

(1) The main object of this Act is to provide for a balanced and nationally consistent framework to secure the health and safety of workers and workplaces by—

(a) protecting workers and other persons against harm to their health, safety and welfare through the elimination or minimisation of risks arising from work or from specified types of substances or plant, and ….


Section 17 of the WHS Act tells us that a PCBU must ensure health and safety by eliminating risks and/or minimising risks in the workplace so far as is reasonably practicable.


Section 19 of the WHS Act tells us that;

A PCBU has the primary duty of care in the workplace and must ensure so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers. This includes;

  • a work environment without risks to health and safety

  • the provision and maintenance of safe plant and structures

  • the provision and maintenance of safe systems of work

  • the safe use, handling, and storage of plant, structures and substances,

  • provision of adequate facilities for the welfare workers

  • any information, training, instruction or supervision that is necessary to protect all persons from risks to their health and safety at work

  • monitoring the health of workers and the conditions at the workplace for the purpose of preventing illness or injury of workers.


Section 27 of the WHS Act tells us that;

Officers of the PCBU must exercise due diligence to ensure that the PCBU complies with every duty or obligation the PCBU has under the WHS Act.


Section 28 of the WHS Act tells us that;

While at work, a worker must

  • take reasonable care for his or her own health and safety

  • take reasonable care that his or her acts or omissions do not adversely affect the health and safety of other persons

  • comply, so far as the worker is reasonably able, with any reasonable instruction that is given by the PCBU

  • co-operate with any reasonable policy or procedure of the PCBU at the workplace that has been notified to workers.


Care and protecting everyone in a workplace from WHS risks is in Courtenell’s DNA and has been since those many years ago when we commenced working in what was then OHS. We are always eager to assist clients to satisfy their WHS needs.





Work Health & Safety - Who Cares
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25th November 2020

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