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New guide to officer health and safety duties

Who is an officer responsible for work health and safety? What does an officer need to do? What are the health and safety duties of an officer?

These questions are fully explained in new resources from Safe Work Australia which show exactly what is expected of people carrying out these duties whether they are CEOs, directors or health and safety representatives (HSRs).

The health and safety duty of an officer

An officer of a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) has a duty to exercise due diligence to ensure that the PCBU complies with their duties or obligations under work health and safety laws. This document sets out who is an officer and what the officer duty requires of them.

Who is an officer?

The role and influence a person has in a business determines if they are an 'officer' under work health and safety laws. This is different for each person and each business.

An officer is generally someone who makes, or participates in making, significant decisions that affect the whole, or a substantial part, of the business, or has the capacity to significantly affect the business' financial standing.

What does an officer need to do?

Officers in small businesses have an obligation under work health and safety laws to demonstrate a proactive approach to work health and safety matters.

Officers must exercise due diligence to make sure the business meets its duties to protect workers and other persons against harm to health and safety.

Worker representation and participation guide

This guide provides information on the representation and participation of workers in health and safety matters at the workplace, as well as guidance on resolving health and safety issues. In Queensland, this is achieved through the effective and coordinated efforts of persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs), work health and safety officers (WHSOs), health and safety representatives (HSRs) and health and safety committees (HSCs). If you are elected as an HSR, you must undertake HSR training within three months of your election.

Worker representation provides a means for facilitating consultation, involving workers and giving them a voice in health and safety matters. Workplaces have better health and safety outcomes when workers have input before decisions are made about health and safety matters that affect them.

More information

Further information on the new material is at