Skip links and keyboard navigation

Queensland Government site header

Work health and safety officer training

General functions of a WHSO

The functions of a WHSO are to:

  • notify the person conducting the business or undertaking (PCBU) about work health and safety matters
  • identify hazards and risks to health and safety arising from the work
  • report in writing to the PCBU any hazards and risks identified arising from the work
  • immediately notify the PCBU about —
    • any incident the WHSO is aware has occurred at the business or undertaking; or
    • any immediate or imminent risk to health and safety at the business or undertaking
  • investigate, or assist in the investigation of, any incidents that occurred at the business or undertaking
  • accompany and assist an inspector during an inspection of the business or undertaking
  • establish educational and training programs on matters relating to work health and safety.

A PCBU may appoint themselves as a WHSO. In this circumstance, the general functions of a WHSO are to:

  • investigate, or assist in the investigation of, any incidents that occurred
  • accompany and assist an inspector during an inspection of the business or undertaking
  • establish educational and training programs on matters relating to work health and safety.

A PCBU can appoint a person as a WHSO only if the person has a certificate of authority for appointment as a WHSO.

Assessment functions of a WHSO

The WHSO must also assess the risks arising from work carried out as part of the business or undertaking at least every 12 months, and provide an assessment report to the PCBU.

The report must include any identified risks to health and safety, and recommendations about managing these risks.

If there is a health and safety committee at the workplace, the committee:

  • must also be given the assessment report, and
  • may negotiate with the WHSO about when to conduct this assessment, and
  • may also approve a work health and safety criteria for the assessment that the WHSO must comply with.

Download the WHSO information guide(PDF, 210.59 KB)

What is the approved training for WHSO certification?

An approved work health and safety officer course is:

  • Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety (BSB41415)

Holders of equivalent or higher level tertiary qualifications may also be eligible for WHSO certification.

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) has developed a training course for WHSO certification. Registered training organisations (RTOs) are now authorised by WHSQ to deliver this training and issue certificates of authority to people who successfully complete the course.

How do I apply for a WHSO certificate from Workplace Health and Safety Queensland?

From 1 July 2018, holders of a Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety (BSB41415) can apply for a certificate of authority from Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ). This could also include holders of equivalent or higher level tertiary qualifications. Applicants must email a certified copy of evidence of their identity and their statement of attainment/qualification to whstraining@oir.qld.gov.au.

Registered training organisations (RTOs) are now able to deliver the approved Work Health and Safety Officer (WHSO) training course and issue certificates of authority to people who successfully complete the course.

How does a registered training organisation (RTO) become authorised to deliver the approved WHSO training course?

RTOs will be required to enter into agreements with WHSQ approving them to deliver the specific WHSO training course.

As part of these agreements, an approved trainer must deliver the training. Approved trainers will require:

  • a minimum Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety or Diploma of Work Health and Safety
  • current Training and Assessment credentials
  • a minimum of two years relevant experience in an occupational or work health and safety role.

In addition, RTOs will be required to notify WHSQ at least 5 days prior to undertaking any WHSO training and assessment, as well as agree to regular audits by WHSQ.

RTOs that are interested in delivering the approved WHSO training course should:

We will notify of each approved RTO on this website.

WHSO Register

A register of RTOs approved to deliver the WHSO course can be found under ‘Related links’ to the right of this page.

Last updated
02 April 2019

Safe Work Month Sponsorships 2019

Support healthy, safe and productive workplaces in Queensland, with 89 sponsorships available you're sure to find one that's perfect for your business.

Read more...

Sponsor a Safe Work Month event today

Lend Lease reaps benefit of helping motivated injured workers recover at work

Property and infrastructure group, Lend Lease is giving injured workers a new lease on life and rehabilitating them back to work sooner through WorkCover Queensland's Recover at Work host employment program.

Read more...

Lend Lease and Recover at Work