The first criteria that you need to satisfy in order for you to complete the first element of the competency unit and to get your Certificate IV in Occupational Health and Safety is to take steps to ensure that managers at all levels are aware of their WHS responsibilities and the role of WHS in the overall management approach.
All personnel have WHS responsibilities as part of their job. These responsibilities are defined by the work health and safety (WHS) legislation. This section begins by examining the legal responsibilities that impact on the strategic planning process then revisits the principles described in the Introduction on the role of management in the systematic approach to managing WHS and concludes by looking at the role of WHS in the overall management approach.
WHS Legal Responsibilities that Impact on the Strategic Planning Process
The learning guide for BSBOHS408 Assist with compliance with OHS and other relevant laws addresses the legal obligations of those in the workplace and others, such as designers and manufacturers, who may influence the health and safety of workers. It should be noted that these legal obligations are not delegable; roles and functions can be delegated but not responsibility. This section of the learning guide reviews these obligations as they may impact on the strategic planning process.
The national Model Work Health and Safety Bill (“Model Work Health and Safety Bill,” 2009) places the primary duty of care on the Person Conducting the Business or Undertaking (PCBU). This responsibility is broader than the old designation of ‘employer’ and personalises the responsibility to a particular person or persons.
This legal responsibility requires that the person(s) who are in control of the business or undertaking, or who direct or influence the work of others must, so far as is reasonably practicable*, ensure the health and safety of workers and also not put others at risk as a result of the business or undertaking.
‘Officers’ of the organisation also have an obligation to exercise ‘due diligence’ to ensure that the organisation complies with the legal obligations.
The model WHS Bill also places obligations on workers to, while at work, take reasonable care that their acts or omissions do not adversely affect the health and safety of other persons. This section could be interpreted to also place obligations on those who might be involved in strategic planning or managers who may be affected by the planning process.
Thus, those involved in the strategic planning process must be aware of their own legal obligations as well as the obligations of others and consider how these obligations might impact not only on the planning process but on the outcomes of the planning.
An ‘officer’ is defined as a company director or secretary; or person who makes or participates in making decisions that affect the whole or a substantial part of the business; or who has the capacity to affect significantly the organisation’s financial standing; or a person in accordance with whose instructions or wishes the directors are accustomed to act.
The role of the WHS practitioner is to ensure that people involved in the strategic planning process are aware of these legal obligations. There are a variety of ways that the WHS practitioner may evaluate awareness of the obligations; perhaps through informal discussion, formal meetings or a survey. It may be that a briefing or more formal training is required to fully inform people of the legal obligations. The Diploma-qualified WHS practitioner may find it more effective to bring in an external person than to conduct such briefings or training themselves.
Published by: LMIT