WHS legal obligations imposed by Work Health & Safety Act 2011


The Entity and the person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) – (i.e. the person with control of everyday running of the business, which may include Managing Directors and other Managers in some instances), have the primary duty to ‘ensure so far as is reasonably practicable, the safety of all workers and others’.

The definition of worker extends now to incorporate contractors and their workers or subcontractors, volunteers, apprentices, students and the like. You must also ensure the safety of visitors and passers-by, so the advice of your OHS consultant Gold Coast is worth the investment.


Officers include not only formal office holders (such as directors, secretaries and appointed liquidators), but also those who effectively ‘call the shots’ by participating in decisions that affect the whole or a substantial part of the business or undertaking. Officers have a ‘due diligence’ duty to become informed and kept up-to-date of both operational and behavioral hazards in the business, ensure a flow of information with provisions made for resources and funding as required for workplace safety and make sure that the PCBU meets its duties.


The WHS Act – Div 2 S19 (3) states the ‘ways’ in which you must discharge your duty. If you don’t you are automatically in breach and you can only ‘ensure safety’ by evidence of an overall and ongoing Safety Program that implements the following:-

PCBU must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable –

  1. The provision and maintenance of a work environment without risks to health and safety; and
  2. The provision and maintenance of safe plant and structures; and
  3. cThe provision and maintenance of safe systems of work; and
  4. The safe use, handling and storage of plant, structures and substances; and
  5. The provision of adequate facilities for the welfare at work of workers in carrying out work for the business or undertaking, including ensuring access to those facilities; and
  6. The provision of any information, training, instruction or supervision that is necessary to protect all persons from risks to their health and safety arising from work carried out as part of the conduct of the business or undertaking; and
  7. That the health of workers and the conditions at the workplace are monitored for the purpose of preventing illness or injury of workers arising from the conduct of the business or undertaking.

The discharge of the Obligation in these ways is required on an ongoing basis.


A failure to properly discharge your ‘duty’ is automatically a breach. Even if there is no incident/injury, you can be prosecuted.

The entity as well as individuals could face prosecution with a possibility of fines that have been substantially increased.

Fines have tripled to $3M for recklessness, jail term increased by 2 years to 5 years and personal liability more clearly defined by new duties. Don’t take the risks, call us, your OHS consultant gold coast, to find out more.


SafeTAustralia a safety consultant Gold Coast based, established in 2016, who understands small business and provides cost effective services helping manage workplace safety