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New Legislation is now in place for Workplace Health and Safety Act which places the primary duty of care and various other duties and obligations on a ‘person conducting a business or undertaking’ (PCBU). The meaning of a PCBU is set out in section 5 of the WHS Act is a broad concept used to capture all types of modern working arrangements. A PCBU or Person in Control of a Business Unit conducts a business or undertaking alone or with others. The business or undertaking can operate for profit or not-for-profit. The definition of a PCBU focuses on the work arrangements and the relationships to carry out the work. In addition to employers, a PCBU can be a corporation, an association, a partnership or sole trader. A volunteer organisation which employs any person to carry out work is considered a PCBU. Householders where there is an employment relationship between the householder and the worker are also considered a PCBU.

An officer is a person who makes decisions, or participates in making decisions, that affect the whole, or a substantial part, of a business or undertaking and has the capacity to significantly affect the financial standing of the business or undertaking. If a person is responsible only for implementing those decisions, they are not considered an officer. Partners of a partnership are not officers but are PCBUs. An officer of a PCBU must exercise due diligence to ensure that the PCBU complies with their duties under the WHS legislation.

You are considered to be an officer if you are:

• an officer within the meaning of section 9 of the Corporations Act 2001
• an officer of the Crown within the meaning of section 247 of the model Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act
• an officer of a public authority within the meaning of section 252 of the model WHS Act.

Much of what we see in the new legislation has flow on effects with thinks like responsibilities for HSR – Health Safety Representatives in the workplace.

A person who conducts a business or undertaking (PCBU) must consult, so far as is reasonably practicable, with workers who carry out work for the business or undertaking and who are (or are likely to be) directly affected by a work health or safety matter. Part 5 of the WHS Act allows for workers to be consulted and represented through health and safety representatives and committees:

• A worker may ask for a Health and Safety Representative (HSR) to be elected to represent them on work health and safety matters. If a worker makes this request, work groups need to be established to facilitate the election. Where HSRs have been elected, the PCBU must consult with them.
• A Health and Safety Committee (HSC) brings together workers and management to assist in the development and review of health and safety policies and procedures for the workplace. A HSC must be established when a HSR or five or more workers makes a request to the PCBU.

PCBU’s and HSR’s also have responsibility for general safety requirements including certification of workers with licensing such as the National Code of Practice for Induction for Construction Work. As all states and territories have agreed to implement the National Code of Practice for Induction for Construction Work which has been declared by Safe Work Australia. This has resulted in a nationally consistent approach to construction induction training given to workers across Australia. It has also meant that building and construction workers who have completed the induction training are now recognised nationally. The code of practice replaced a multitude of state systems currently in operation with a single national approach. The code provides guidance on the recommended induction training required to ensure construction workers gain awareness and understanding of common hazards on construction sites and how they should be managed. The code is supported by a national unit of competency in CPC08 Construction, Plumbing and Integrated Services Training Package which enables required training to be delivered through the vocational education and training system by registered training organisations. On 1 January 2012, new National OH&S laws came into effect in QLD, NSW, ACT, NT and Commonwealth jurisdictions. The new law (Work, Health and Safety Act, 2011) provides for White Cards to be recognised across all States of Australia. This is an example of the type of licensing that PCBU’s and HSR’s have the responsibility to ensure that they comply with National Licensing and Training requirements.

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Module 1:  Overview of WHS Act and the National Changes


Module 2: Terminology & Definitions across Australia


Module 3:  Implications for Small Business in Australia


Module 4:  WH&S ACT implications for Senior Managers, CEO’s and Directors


Module 5:  WH&S ACT implications for Group Training Organisations  


Module 6: The ACT Terminology


Module 7: PCBUs, the Primary Duty of Care & Other Duties


Module 8:  Duties of Officers, Workers & Others


Module 9: Defining Reasonably Practicable


Module 10: Consultation Definition and Requirements


Module 11: Participation and Representation for Health and Safety Representatives


Module 12: Health and Safety Committees and their Roles and Functions


Module 13: PCBU Issue Resolution and Review


Module 14: Public Safety , Exposure and Risks


Module 15:  Enforcement and Penalties


Module 16:  Reviewable Decisions – Internal and External Appeals


Module 17: Union Participation in WH & S  


Module 18: Notification of Incidents

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New work health and Safety laws

The WHS Act places the primary duty of care and various other duties and obligations on a ‘person conducting a business or undertaking’ (PCBU). The meaning of a PCBU is set out in section 5 of the WHS Act. This is a broad concept used to capture all types of modern working arrangements.

The document attached below provides guidance on the interpretation and application of the concept of a ‘person conducting a business or undertaking’ used in the Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act and Regulations.

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Work health and safety harmonisation update

Nationally uniform work health and safety laws will ensure a consistently high level of protection for all Australians, and over time, reduce the compliance and regulatory burden for businesses which operate across state borders. The harmonised
legislation will be similar to Victoria’s Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004. So if your business is compliant with Victorian law, you are well placed to comply with the new legislation. The new system of harmonised laws will include an Act, Regulations, Codes of Practice and a National Compliance and Enforcement Policy. This information sheet will help you start to understand the changes to terms, definitions, and duties proposed by the new legislation.

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Guide to the Work Health and Safety Act 2011

This guide provides an overview of the Queensland Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act). It is designed to help people understand their health and safety duties and rights in the workplace. However it is not intended to be read in place of the WHS Act. To assist readers, crossreferences to specific sections of the WHS Act are provided after each heading. It also provides information on:
• the requirements for consultation between business operators,
worker representatives and workers;
• the notification of incidents; enforcement procedures;
• what constitutes an offence under the WHS Act and the range of
penalties that apply.

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Model work health and safety regulations

Overall, the implementation of the model Work Health and Safety Regulations (WHS Regulations) 1 should not have a significant impact in how NSW businesses operate and manage work health and safety matters.
Essentially, many requirements are unchanged, or substantially the same as is currently prescribed in the existing Occupational Health and Safety Regulation 2001 (OHS Regulation). However, some NSW businesses or industries may need to change how they comply with work health and safety legislation in the following respects:

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New work health and safety laws in 2012

When will the new legislation come into effect? The model Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act, model work health and safety regulations, and model codes of practice are anticipated to come into effect on 1 January 2012. What does ‘model’ work health and safety (WHS) legislation mean? ‘Model’ refers to Safe Work Australia’s model WHS framework, which includes an act, regulations and codes of practice, to be adopted by each jurisdiction. Each state and territory will enact their own laws to mirror these model laws.

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The model work health and safety bill

On 11 December 2009, the Workplace Relations Ministers’ Council endorsed the Model Work Health and Safety (WHS) Bill. The intention is that the Commonwealth and each state and territory government will enact a workplace health and safety Bill to commence on 1 January 2012. This is consistent with the Intergovernmental Agreement for Regulatory and Operational Reform in Occupational Health and Safety, signed by the Council of Australian Governments. The following summary highlights key provisions of the model WHS Bill, which is available at

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The principal duty holder is a ‘person conducting a business or undertaking’ and replaces the term ‘employer’. PCBUs include the Commonwealth, Commonwealth Authorities, non-Commonwealth licensees, principal contractors, and will, in some cases, necessitate an analysis to understand who is a PCBU in a particular factual context under the new WHS laws.

The duty imposed on a PCBU is probably the most significant conceptual change from the majority of previous OHS Acts. For the public sector, it means that every activity that could give rise to a risk is captured in both policy and operational.

This change is aimed at ensuring that the WHS Act coverage extends beyond the traditional employer / employee relationship to include new and evolving work arrangements and risks.

The WHS Act also places specific upstream duties on PCBUs who carry out specific activities:

  • persons with management or control of a workplace/fixtures, fittings and plant
  • designers, manufacturers, importers, suppliers and PCBUs that install construct or commission plant or structures.
  • Duties extend to any PCBU who is contributing to work has a duty of care – this can be more than one duty in relation to specific activities

‘Volunteer association’ (as defined) is not treated as a business or undertaking.

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Online Induction Programs

Incorporating e-learning into your induction and orientation program has some distinct advantages. The most important is the level of in-built trainee engagement, content consistency, and corporate compliance that e-learning provides. Most corporate induction programs involve new employees and contractors sitting in a room for one or two days (or more!), listening to dry presentations from a seemingly endless array of executive representatives, WHSO’s and Quality Managers! This monthly ritual is a familiar scenario to most executives in large organisations. But for all this work and investment of highly paid resource, how much actual retention and competence can really be demonstrated?

In most cases, trainees simply sign off a form to say they were present at the training.  As we say, they were “warm and vertical” on the day, but nothing beyond this is guaranteed!

In contrast, Urban E-learning solutions encourage and support cultural change and evidence of compliance!  Our courses are designed with multiple different modalities of learning and assessment, based on important competencies relevant to the topic at hand.  We provide easy to respond to online assessment tools such as multiple choice, drag-and-drop, matching of pictures with text, and much more!  The results from these assessments are tracked in amazing levels of detail in the “Learning Management System” (LMS) database which is accessible to management 24/7 online!