WHS Training: What Training?
There are four identified duty holders under WHS Law (all states and territories with the exception of Victoria have the same duty holders.)
1. PCBU (Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking.) A PCBU is a business, organisation, or corporation that employs people to do work for them. In addition to legal entities, a PCBU may also be an individual such as a sole trader (they are employing themselves.) A contractor to another company is a PCBU. There may be multiple PCBU's sharing the same premises. (See WHS Act, Sections 19, 20, 21.)
2. Officers of the PCBU. These are senior management persons (CEOs and directors) who have the authority to make major decisions for a company, business, organisation, or corporation. They carry out the day-to-day operations of the undertaking and may be personally liable in the event of a breach. Under WHS Law, officers have an active role in ensuring a PCBU is meeting it's mandatory obligations. (See WHS Act, Section 27.)
3. Workers. These are the people in the workforce that do the work. This includes the people who supervise and manage others. When an officer is performing work as a worker he/she is considered a "worker" for that activity. (See WHS Act, Section 28)
4. Others. These are persons who visit a work site that are not staff. They can be customers, contractors, visitors, and service people who come to your workplace. (See WHS Act, Section 29.)
Health and Safety training may be specific for each duty holder or apply to multiple duty holders.
Two pieces of legislation govern WHS law for all businesses in NSW: The WHS Act 2011, and the WHS Regulation 2017. There is other legislation for specific industries but the WHS Act and WHS Regulation applies to all individuals, companies, organisations, and corporations that employ people.
Training for Business owners and Senior management
Suggested PCBU-level training:
1) WHS Law. This training covers the legal requirements of a PCBU, it's obligations and mandatory expectations. Recommended for members of boards of directors, CEOs, GMs, and directors of businesses in other states who have operations in New South Wales. Key to PCBU responsibilities are the duty to manage risks and to have in place a robust WHS management system, and to have consultation processes in place for consulting workers on WHS matters.
2) WHS consultation. PCBUs must have measures in place to consult with staff who may be affected by WHS matters. It is illegal for a PCBU to act on WHS matters without first consulting. There are many ways that consultation can take place so long as those activities are in accordance with Sections 46-49 of the WHS Act. Establishing consultation work groups and HSRs is the first recommendation in the WHS Act if consultation procedures are to be formalised. Otherwise, "tool box talks", one-on-one discussions, safety meetings, surveying, etc may be adequate. For specific projects or specific sites a health and safety committee may help representatives of the PCBU consult the staff. How to decide is addressed on the Courtenell Consultation Compliance in NSW course.
3) Risk Management of Psychosocial Hazards and Risks. Psychosocial hazards and risks are to be managed in the same way as any other physical risks in the workplace as per amendments made to the NSW WHS Regulation in 2022. Psychosocial is no longer just the domain of HR. It is the duty of the PCBU to manage risks.
4) OHS Law (Victoria.) This training covers legal requirements for businesses in Victoria, in accordance with the VIC Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 and OHS Regulations 2017. This training applies to managers of NSW businesses that additionally have operations in Victoria. Under the Legislation Act 2003 all businesses and legal entities must adhere to local state or territory laws when the business or entity has a presence in that state or territory. A NSW WHS management system cannot be extended to VIC operations without being modified.
Suggested training for Officers:
1) WHS due diligence training. The WHS Act requires that officers exercise "due diligence" to ensure that the PCBU is complying with the WHS Act. Officers carry out the day-to-day operations of the undertaking and may be personally liable in the event of a breach. Officers must ensure that when consultation is required that it occurs. Officers need to know all their legal obligations.
2) WHS Responsibilities for Managers. The PCBU is responsible for the creation of the WHS management system. Officers must ensure that it exists, and supervisors and managers must supervise and manage staff to follow the rules of the system. They must ensure staff, customers, and visitors follow all safety protocols including correct use of PPE. This course presents the requirements of WHS law at the operational level, specifically for management persons involved in day-to-day activities.
3) Management of WHS Risks. Officers are active management persons who have operational roles. They need to understand WHS risks management principles. Courtenell offers several WHS risk management courses including training that includes principles from ISO 31000 (risk management framework.)
4) Risk Management of Psychosocial Hazards. Psychosocial hazards and risks are to be managed in the same way as any other physical risks in the workplace as per amendments made to the NSW WHS Regulation in 2022. Psychosocial is no longer just the domain of HR. It is the duty of officers to ensure that the PCBU manages these risks. While the identification of offenders is part of the risk management process, it is equally important to ensure that persons are not wrongly accused, and the right of an employer to ensure people do their jobs is not undermined.
5) Incident Investigation. Management persons investigating health and safety incidents need to be able to know how to properly investigate, report, and record incidents. Major incidents may involve SafeWork NSW or other Regulators. Training in investigations may reference well-known methodologies such as the "Swiss Cheese Model" or "Five Whys Model" as part of Root Cause Analysis.
6) OHS Law (Victoria.) This training covers legal requirements for businesses in Victoria, in accordance with the VIC Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulations. This training applies to managers of NSW businesses that additionally have operations in Victoria. While the WHS Act gives specific and duties and responsibilities for officers of a PCBU, these are absent in Victorian law. Officers of VIC businesses may be prosecuted under Civil law for acts of "omission." Businesses that have operations in VIC must adhere to local state laws as per the Legislation Act 2003. A NSW WHS management system cannot be extended to VIC operations without being appropriately modified.
Specific WHS training
The “Primary duty of care” requires a PCBU to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, “the provision of any information, training, instruction or supervision that is necessary to protect all persons from risks to their health and safety arising from work carried out as part of the conduct of the business or undertaking.” (WHS Act, Section 19 (f)).
Recommended training for the Leadership Team, Managers, and Supervisors:
1) WHS Responsibilities for Managers. The PCBU is responsible for the creation of the WHS management system. Officers must ensure that it exists, and supervisors and managers must supervise and manage staff to follow the rules of the system. Managers must ensure staff, customers, and visitors follow all safety protocols including correct use of PPE. This course presents the requirements of WHS law at the operational level, specifically for management persons involved in day-to-day activities.
2) Management of WHS Risks. Workplace hazards and risks are managed using the Hierarchy of Control measures as per Clauses 33-38 of the WHS Regulation. It is the duty of the PCBU to manage risks. Supervisors and managers need to be aware of risk management principles as they may be the first to come upon a hazard or risk to be handled on an immediate basis and report them to management. Every person in the workplace has a role in WHS risk management. This course is also suitable for all staff.
3) Risk Management of Psychosocial Hazards. Psychosocial hazards and risks are to be managed in the same way as any other physical risks in the workplace as per amendments made to the NSW WHS Regulation in 2022. Psychosocial is no longer just the domain of HR. Operationally, it falls on the supervisors and managers to ensure that staff are being properly treated and that bullies, "gaslighters", and antisocial staff are caught before hazards become incidents. Offenders can sometimes be managers and supervisors. It is equally important to ensure that persons are not wrongly accused, and the right of an employer to insist that people do their jobs is not undermined.
4) Specialised Risk Assessment course. This is a practical program with minimal theory suitable for operational staff. It is assumed that persons attending understand WHS basics and are familiar with the Hierarchy of Control measures, but a refresher on these basics will be done if requested. Persons participating in this program use their company's risk assessment tools to assess and manage real-world hazards and risks in the workplace and have the facilitator at their disposal for any questions or assistance.
HSRs are elected to represent groups of workers who have been categorised into identified "work groups" for the purposes of WHS consultation. These consultation work groups must have HSRs. A PCBU has an obligation to train HSRs (Section 72). upon request by an HSR to undertake the training. SafeWork NSW has an initial course and a refresher course for HSRs. Courtenell is a SafeWork NSW Approved Training Provider (ATP) for the delivery of both these courses.
There is no Regulator-specified course of training for Health & Safety Committee members although the subject is covered in the SafeWork NSW Initial 5-day HSR course for health and safety representatives. (HSRs are meant to be committee members.) HSC-specific training may be useful for businesses that have HSCs as an additional tier of consultation or for businesses that have not divided up the workplace into consultation work groups. An HSC has no operational role and only needs to meet once every three months. Courtenell offers several HSC-specific courses, for both new committees and experienced committees.
1) Hazardous Manual Tasks course. Under Clause 60 of the WHS Regulation a PCBU must manage risks derived from hazardous manual tasks including work that involves manual handling. Courtenell's hazardous manual tasks course focuses on manual handling and is different from others in that the majority of the program is practical learning and demonstration of the manual tasks that persons undertake as part of their jobs. This course does not involve risk assessment of hazardous manual tasks, just the performing of those tasks correctly.
2) Specialised Risk Assessment course. This is a practical program with minimal theory (as it is assumed that persons attending sufficiently understand WHS basics and are familiar with the Hierarchy of Control Measures.) Persons participating in this program are taken through their company's risk assessment tools to assess and manage hazardous manual tasks, as per Clause 60 of the WHS Regulation. If training is required as a result of the assessments, Courtenell's hazardous manual tasks course may be a useful follow-up for associated information and instruction.
A PCBU must ensure that: “(a) an adequate number of workers are trained to administer first aid at the workplace, or (b) workers have access to an adequate number of other persons who have been trained to administer first aid.” (Clause 42) A nationally accredited course in First Aid is available for all First Aiders and the certificate is valid in every State.
Training in Emergency Response Procedures
A PCBU must have emergency response procedures in place and must train workers in these procedures.(Ref: Clause 43) As workplaces are all different training in this is best done as a customized program specific to the business and site.
Training in High Risk work
Specific licenses are required to perform work classified in the WHS Regulations as "High Risk." The Regulations specify the course of training required to obtain a license for each category. Some examples are Working at Heights and Working in Confined Spaces. A PCBU may not allow anyone to perform high risk work for them who is not licensed for that work. Courtenell delivers several "awareness courses" in various high risk areas. These courses are not accredited but may serve as evidence of training for internal audits or continuous improvement programs.