Work Health and Safety Co-ordinator's Role - Procedures

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1.  Purpose and Objectives

The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 due diligence provisions require the University ensure that suitably qualified persons are available to provide advice on WH&S matters to Officers of the University. In order for this to be achieved the University will nominate suitable  Work Health  and Safety Co-ordinators in areas where there is significant risk. This document outlines the responsibilities of WHSCs and their Heads within The University of Queensland.

2.  Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

ActWork Health and Safety Act 2011

3.  Procedures Scope/Coverage

These procedures apply to WHSCs and Heads of organisational units.

4.  Procedures Statement

In organisational units where work activities present the potential for significant risk to the health and safety of staff, the training and appointment of a WHSC is essential.

The appointment of WHSCs does not relinquish the responsibilities of heads of organisational units, managers, supervisors or staff under the Act. Rather, the appointment of WHSCs is part of the strategy to assist all parties in meeting their legislative responsibilities (see PPL 2.10.04 Staff Responsibilities for Occupational Health and Safety).

The responsibilities of WHSCs are outlined in section 5 of this document. Section 6 sets out the responsibilities of heads of organisational units. 

5. WHSC’s Responsibilities

It is recommended that the staff selected for appointment as a WHSC have supervisory responsibilities as a component of their job at the University.

The following WHSC functions must be integrated with the staff member’s job description:

  • Advise the head of organisational unit or manager about responsibilities under the Act and the overall state of occupational health and safety at the workplace;
  • Report identified hazards and appropriate risk control measures to the head of organisational unit;
  • Assist in identifying appropriate training programs in occupational health and safety, in consultation with the OH&S Division;
  • Act as executive officer for the local work health and safety committee, if there is one;
  • Conduct annual workplace audits to identify hazards and unsafe workplace conditions and work practices; and
  • Where the WHSC is also a supervisor they are required, for the area under their supervision, to review the circumstances of work injury, illness and dangerous events, identify any corrective action and request any additional resources or assistance required to undertake this corrective action (see PPL 2.10.07 Workplace Injury, Illness and Incident  Reporting).

6.  Heads of Organisational Units’ Responsibilities in support of WHSCs

  • Nominate staff to undertake initial and updated WHSC training;
  • Appoint a staff member in writing as WHSC and integrate the WHSC role with the appointed staff member's job description;
  • Delegate authority to the WHSC to undertake specified role;
  • Ensure a notice is displayed in a prominent location within the organisational unit, advising the identity of the WHSC for the organisational unit;
  • Ensure consultation with WHSC regarding workplace risk and proposed changes that may affect occupational health and safety at the workplace;
  • Allocate physical and financial resources to enable the WHSC to undertake training and attend to occupational health and safety issues; and
  • When appropriate, instruct the WHSC on action to be taken to ensure the health and safety of staff.

7. Occupational Health and Safety Division Responsibilities in support of WHSCs

  • Provide advice to WHSCs regarding the management of workplace hazards and risks;
  • Assist WHSCs to identify and access appropriate resources required to address occupational health and safety problems;
  • Provide WHSCs with information regarding changes to the Act, Regulations and Codes of Practice and other relevant legislation and standards; and
  • Facilitate the provision of updated training to the WHSCs.
Director, Health, Safety and Wellness Mr Jim Carmichael
Director, Health, Safety and Wellness Mr Jim Carmichael