I remember moving to QLD about 10 years ago and thinking that the WHSO concept was a great idea. National Legislation has seen the demise of the concept – but nothing says you still can’t have one! George from www.ohschange.com.au discusses his lament. I highly recommend George’s other articles HERE.
Qld. Workplace Health & Safety Officer (W.H.S.O.) Concept
I think it was about 1985 when the Qld. Workplace Health & Safety Act was introduced, prior to that the Qld Construction Safety Act was the major piece of legislation. The legislation that was introduced specified if an organisation had over 30 employees they must have a W.H.S.O.
The W.H.S.O. had to be accredited by the state government and was trained in particular parts of the safety legislation according to what industry they worked in. There was a reaccreditation process at specified intervals where W.H.S.O.’s were trained in legislative updates.
The system was far from perfect but the principle of having to have a safety person and training that person in the safety legislation seems extremely sound.
Harmonisation saw the W.H.S.O. concept disappear. My understanding is that the Qld government argued for the W.H.S.O. concept to be introduced nationally but they were buried by the other states.
In talking to the General Manager of a large building company recently he told me the harmonised safety legislation was great because he saved a lot of money as he did not have to employ a safety officer and there was a heap of safety things he no longer had to do. Interestingly he had little knowledge of his due diligence requirements as the man in charge of the company.
The impression I am gaining is that not having W.H.S.O.’s is a backward step for Qld.