Health and Safety Advisor - HSA (previously WHSO)
The department made a policy decision to retain Workplace Health and Safety Officer (WHSOs) which came into effect as of 1 January 2012. Retaining WHSOs provides continuity for our workplaces and recognises the important role. The title of the role has changed from WHSO to Health and Safety Advisor (HSA). The HSA supports managers to improve their health, safety and well-being practice. Department procedure requires all workplaces with 30 or more workers to appoint a HSA.
The role of a HSA is to assist the Principal, Managers and/or management team by providing advice on the overall state of health and safety at the workplace. The HSA can be a valuable member of the management team; for this reason it is important to choose the right person for the job.
Health and Safety Management and the Role of the HSA
- Appoint a Health and Safety Advisor (HSA). This is recommended for all larger workplaces and is a requirement for all workplaces with 30 or more workers.
- Record HSA details - collated numbers of trained safety staff may need to be reported annually by government agencies to the Regulator - Workplace Health and Safety Queensland.
Note: For workplaces using MyHR WHS - update the 'Location Administration' screen with your HSAs details - record these against the 'WHS Role' sections.
- A competent, well-informed HSA can provide invaluable support to their Principal or Manager and make a significant contribution to the successful management of the school or workplace. Being a HSA has little to do with looking at cracks in the concrete, it is about setting up health and safety systems and improving the attitude of staff towards health and safety.
- Staff seeking a future leadership role will benefit from the knowledge attained; the emphasis on leadership in relation to workplace health and safety and the influencing skills developed performing the role. It is important to nominate the right person for the job.
- The ideal person for the job will:
- Be capable of writing an annual WH&S report
- Have good interpersonal/communication skills
- Be an asset on your management/finance committee
- Be highly motivated
- Have credibility with staff and students
- Care about staff and student welfare
- Not necessarily hold a position of responsibility at present
- Have an active Workplace Health and Safety Committee* ensuring that:
- A member of the management or administration team attends meetings or formal processes are in place to report to, and seek feedback from this leadership group.
- The actions identified through the Annual Safety Assessment and Action Plan are addressed.
- Minutes of meetings are available.
- Outcomes of meetings are shared with the whole staff group
* In small schools there may be another forum that is used to discuss health and safety issues e.g. a standing agenda item in the regular staff meeting.
- Complete the Annual Safety Assessment (recommended for all workplaces and required for schools and workplaces with more than 30 workers) to monitor the status of health and safety at the workplace:
- The Health and Safety Committee can coordinate the Annual Safety Assessment (ASA).
- A range of staff should be involved in the ASA process to gain an accurate picture of health and safety knowledge, current good practices and areas for improvement.
- Through the completion of the Annual Safety Assessment, principals and managers identify areas of health and safety management that require further work at their site.
- Establish local arrangements to gain support and advice including liaising with:
- Attend local health and safety network meetings and other professional development opportunities hosted in the region:
- Regional Senior Health and Safety Consultants coordinate many of these meetings.
- A range of different staff may attend meetings depending on the topic.
Contact a Health and Safety Consultant for more information.
Departmental procedures and guidelines
Health and Safety Advisors
Information for OICs and HSAs 190K
Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) provide Health and Safety Advisor Training.
The qualification for a Health and Safety Advisor is:
- 10312NAT - Functioning as a Work Health and Safety Adviser Course OR
- BSB41412 - Certificate IV - Work Health and Safety (WHS) OR
- BSB41407 - Certificate IV - Occupational Health and Safety (with evidence of knowledge of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and associated legislation)
Staff with health and safety qualifications or experience may be eligible for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) or to undertake a bridging course to meet the minimum qualification. Assessments of eligibility will be determined by Registered Training Organisations.
Currency of skills and knowledge is to be maintained through the completion of refresher training every 5 years. For example;
- Recertification / Refresher courses - established by Registered Training Organisations (RTO) or
- Other courses or programs recognised by Office of Safe Work Queensland (Workplace Health and Safety Queensland)
Contact Health and Safety Consultant for more information.
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This page was last reviewed on 22 Jan 2014