Duty of Care & Achieving WHS Compliance
website Footer image Background

Terms and Conditions                Privacy Policy

website header image train@courtenell.com.au Courtenell Work Health & Safety Training and Consulting 02 9516 1499
Home About Us     Course Dates All Courses Online Learning Safety Articles Resources Bookings

Courtenell Pty Ltd

as Trustee for the Vowles Family Trust

WHS Training Specialists, Sydney, Australia  

train@courtenell.com.au ~ PO Box 622 Broadway NSW 2007

ABN: 42164393628 ~ ACN: 050109281

Duty of Care & Achieving WHS Compliance:

One Follows the Other  

Other Articles

Hazardous Manual Tasks Training Compliance

A WHS Tool to Guard Against Non-Compliance

Improving Worker Involvement in WHS Compliance

How to Improve Health & Safety in Your Work Environment

Solar UV Radiation Risk Management

Untapped WHS Consultation Resources

Maintaining Risk Controls in Your Workplace

First Aid Consultation

Preventing Reckless WHS Conduct

You are welcome to download and distribute the article in your workplace if you feel it may be useful

Download Article     Download Training Calendar


For tailor made onsite training:

Call (02) 9516 1499

WHS Risk Management

BackBasics Manual Handling Course

WHS Risk Management for Supervisors and Managers

Law for Officers and Managers

Responsibility for Supervisors and Managers

Health and Safety Representative Course

One Day Refresher Course

Understanding the Role of your HSRs

Effective Health and Safety Committee Training

Health and Safety Committee Chairperson Course

Health and Safety Committee Refresher Course

Share on LinkedIn Share on Facebook Share on Google Bookmarks Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on Tumblr Share via e-mail Print

The human trait of caring for others is inherent in our legal system. It is also the foundation of the WHS Act and WHS Regulations and, together with taking care for your own safety, forms the basis of everyone’s WHS duty of care.  

So compliance with WHS legislation in your workplace can be achieved or defeated depending upon whether everyone fulfills their duty of care.


This article is focussed on how the duty of care, as required by the WHS Act, applies to everyone in your workplace and what you can do about it

to help ensure the requirements in the WHS Act and Regulations are complied with.

How Much Care is Needed to Achieve Compliance?

The short incomplete answer is that it depends upon what position a person has in the workplace and what authority they have been given by the PCBU

(person conducting the business or undertaking – the word person includes company or any other legally recognised body of people).

A PCBU  has the primary duty of care in the workplace and that care can be described as;

do everything reasonably practicable to ensure the heath and safety of everyone in the workplace or other persons who might be put at risk by workplace activities (see section 19 of the WHS Act).

An Officer of the PCBU (includes Directors of the company, some senior managers and others) has a duty that can be described as;

must exercise due diligence to ensure the PCBU complies with every WHS duty or obligation they have. This due diligence includes taking reasonable steps in 5 specific areas of the business or undertaking (see section 27 WHS Act).

Workers in a workplace (includes employees, contractors, subcontractors etc see section 6 WHS Act) must take reasonable care for their own safety and the safety of others (but see section 28 WHS Act for more).

There is also a category of persons called Others Persons and their duty of care is almost the same as Workers duty of care.

You can see the relationship and interaction of duty of care between the above 4 categories in the infographic on our website at this link


How to Achieve WHS Compliance

This article is not long enough to cover the specific meanings of reasonably practicable, due diligence, and reasonable care or the implications of the different levels of care required by the WHS Act of the 4 categories of persons above. However, those meanings should be understood by everyone in the workplace including what each duty holder is required to do.

This subject is covered in many of Courtenell’s WHS courses.

In particular each person in the workplace must know, understand and carry out those actions that they are authorised and required to do in their workplace to satisfy their duty of care

Everyone in the workplace is on the same team and ideally team members should know what the other team members are doing or supposed to be doing about health and safety.   

Click on the links below to download the course outlines

WHS Risk Management for Supervisors and Managers

WHS Risk Management