Workplace Health and Safety FAQ’s

Following are a range of workplace health and safety FAQ that appear regularly during general consultancy and training courses.

Workplace Health and Safety FAQ’s

General Workplace Health and Safety

Where do I go to get safety information in my area?

The Commonwealth, states and territories are responsible for implementing, regulating and enforcing WHS laws in their jurisdictions.

What is a SWMS?
SWMS is a Safe Work Method Statement. A SWMS is a written document that sets out the high risk construction work activities to be carried out at a workplace, the hazards and risks arising from these activities and the measures to be put in place to control the risks. Its primary purpose is to help supervisors and workers implement and monitor the control measures established at the workplace to ensure high risk construction work is carried out safely.
What is a Code of Practice
An approved code of practice is a practical guide to achieving the standards of health, safety and welfare required under the WHS Act and the Work Health and Safety Regulation. Codes of Practice provide practical guidance on how to meet the standards set out in the WHS Act and the WHS Regulation. Codes of Practice are admissible in proceedings as evidence of whether or not a duty under the WHS laws has been met. They can also be referred to by an inspector when issuing an improvement or prohibition notice.

Health and Safety Representative

Does a Health and Safety Representative require training to perform their role?
A worker elected by their co-workers to be a Health and Safety Representative is therefore entitled to formal training and refresher training.
What training are Health and Safety Representatives entitled to?
An elected Health and Safety Representative is consequently entitled to attend initial training of 5 days then a refresher every three years.
The Health and Safety Representative has made a request for training do I have to approve it?
Yes, under the WHS legislation the employer is certainly required pay reasonable expenses for this training.
Is there an approved Health and Safety Representative training course?

Yes, each State, Territory and the Commonwealth have a Health and Safety Representative (HSR) training provider package that is therefore required to be used for this training. Additional information can be found at Safe Work Australia.

Where can I get more information on Health and Safety Representatives and Workplace Health and Safety?
This training is heavily regulated for content and accurateness it is therefore important to contact your relevant Government Work Health and Safety department for additional information.

Fire Safety Adviser

Does the Fire Safety Adviser have to be a person on staff?
In Queensland many businesses are required to have a Fire Safety Adviser. This person for example, may be a member of staff or another person who is local, to assist the business during emergencies.
How many Fire Safety Advisers should the Occupier appoint?
Legislation requires at least one person to be the Fire Safety Adviser however larger organisations may get more assistance from more Fire Safety Advisers depending on their size and work shifts.
If I have a Fire Safety Adviser, do I still need Building Fire Wardens?
Yes, the Fire Safety Adviser is to assist with the legislative compliance whereas the Warden role is to assist with the people movement during whatever emergency is underway. Both roles contribute to workplace health and safety in the workplace.

Where can I find out about WHS laws that apply in each jurisdiction.

Each State and Territory has a regulator for the legislation.
  • SafeWork NSW
  • WorkSafe Victoria
  • Workplace Health and Safety Queensland
  • SafeWork SA
  • WorkSafe WA
  • WorkSafe Tasmania
  • NT WorkSafe
  • WorkSafe ACT
  • Comcare

Safe Work Australia (SWA) is an Australian government statutory agency that develop national policy to improve work health and safety (WHS) and workers’ compensation arrangements across Australia. Safe Work Australia work to:

    • develop and evaluate national WHS and workers’ compensation policy and strategies
    • develop and evaluate the model WHS legislative framework
    • undertake research
    • collect, analyse and report data

As a national policy body, they do not regulate WHS laws or administer workers’ compensation arrangements.

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What range of WHS Training and Services do you provide?

The primary training courses we personally deliver include, Incident Investigations, WHS Policy and Procedure Development, Workplace Noise Assessments, Confined Spaces Training, Hazardous Chemicals, First Response Fire Training, Fire Safety Adviser Training & Refresher, Work At Heights, Risk Management Sessions, Internal Auditor Training, Health and Safety Representative & Refresher training. We also have a Blog page that discusses various topics that may be of interest.

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