WHS Harmonisation Jargon

New Laws, New Words….S#@#! – Latest blog post on the Safety Toolshed

Posted on September 19, 2011 by The Safety Nerd

Okay, so after years of teaching everyone what OHS means it changes on us.  Not only that, but there is a whole dictionary of jargon that’s been thrown in.

Here is a quick and dirty run down of the jargon in the new OHS or shall I say, WHS laws:

  • WHS – Work Health and Safety
  • PCBU – person conducting a business or undertaking.  I’ll explain this in a blog on it’s own in the coming weeks.  In a nutshell, this this is the employer who’s responsibility for health and safety, but quite a bit broader.   It can include a self employed person and the controller of the premises.
  • Worker – the concept of employee has been broadened to anyone who carries out work for a PCBU in any capacity.  This includes contractors, subbies, labour hire, outworker, apprentice, work experience or volunteers.
  • So far as is reasonably practicable – the PCBU must ensure a duty of care to workers and those that the work carried out affects.
  • Officers – this replaces the term for Directors and Managers as defined by the Corporations Act 2001.  Officers of PCBUs have a duty to exercise positive due diligence to ensure compliance obligations are met.
  • Health and Safety Representatives – this replaces your OHS Reps and will have an increased function, which I’ll blog about in the coming weeks.
  • Health and Safety Committees – this replaces OHS Committees but has similar functions.
  • WHS Entry Permit – union officials can apply for this, and it allows them to enter workplaces to inquire about suspected breaches and consult with workers.
  • The workplace – any place where a worker goes, or is likely to go, while at work.
  • Provision of safe structures – included in general duties of PCBUs and within the duties of designers.
  • Business or undertaking – activities carried out by, or under the control of, a person, regardless of if they work alone or with others and regardless of if the business or undertaking is conducted for profit or gain.   This does not include a person who is engaged solely as a worker, or as an officer of that business or undertaking or acting in the capacity of an elected member of the local government authority.
  • Others – in the context of ‘PCBUs must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable that the H&S of other persons is not put at risk from work carried out….’ – others includes persons other than workers such as visitors, customers and members of the public.

So….there we have it….in one foul swoop the game is changing.  I’ll give you a full explanation of each of these points over the coming weeks, so no changing careers yet clever clogs.


The Safety Nerd x

Safety Nerd

Owner and Principal Consultant at Riskology
I’ve been in safety my whole career. Well nearly my whole career, I started off as a secretary for a recruitment company, then dabbled in HR whilst stumbling onto safety, which I fell head over heels ….literally in love (I know safety nerd alert) with safety after reading the book Lessons from Longford by Anthony Hopkins at the age of 19 and haven’t looked back since. I had a few friends that had been permanently injured in their early 20s and my Dad nearly lost his foot in a workplace accident when I was a twinkle in his eye and the Lessons from Longford book made so much sense to me. I started my life in safety knee high to a grasshopper working for Aristocrat in the 90’s, a gaming machine company in Sydney where I introduced national safety handbooks, alerts, industry focus groups and decided this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life; during this time I also headed off to Uni and completed an MBA specialising in industrial relations, the closest qualification at the time related to safety, since then there’s been an explosion of courses so I then got my teeth into a masters of safety. I then went onto a safety role at Coca Cola Amatil and tackled the logistics of ensuring multiple sites were compliant from call centres to sales to manufacturing workers. This was an interesting time when new manufacturing plants were opening and becoming fully automated, never a dull moment in the world of safety. I’m a bit of a car buff so then moved into a safety role at Inchcape, you know the guys that own Subaru. I was looking after the safety for 45 sites and came up with some great strategies to get them all confident and running with safety. After saving my employers in total over $1.5million in workers comp and setting up some great strategies I decided to jump ship and moved away from the big smoke for love. That was a couple of years ago now and that’s when Riskology was born. I love helping other businesses create safer workplaces helping them through the minefield of legislation with simple easy solutions with the end goal of making workplaces safer. The safety industry has changed significantly in recent years, with new legislation and tougher penalties. Small businesses are expected to comply just as much as large businesses, that’s where I come in, helping to bridge the gap and cut through the jargon. Safety doesn’t have to be the elephant in the room, good safety practices is good for business. Qualifications Master’s degree in Occupational Health and Safety Master’s degree in Business Industrial Relations Accredited Lead Auditor Graduate Certificate Health and Safety Management Systems Cert IV – Workplace Training, OHS, HR(and Dip), Secretarial

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