OPEC College

Who Is Responsible For Health And Safety In The Workplace?

Who exactly is responsible for ensuring you work in a safe environment, without the risk of injuries or accidents? While everyone has a responsibility for their own safety and the safety of those around them, legally there are key individuals responsible for work health and safety. 

Who is responsible for health and safety?

The health and safety in a workplace is everyone’s responsibility, however it is ultimately up to the employer or business owner to ensure that a workplace is safe for all employees and their health and safety is not put at risk. 

Many workplaces, large and small, have an allocated health and safety officer to ensure that the business is compliant with safety regulations and to investigate any health and safety breaches. Health and safety officers are responsible for a range of things in the workplace, including identifying hazards and risks arising from the work and reporting (in writing) to the business owner any hazards and risks identified.  

You can find out more about what a workplace health and safety officer does here.

Common health and safety responsibilities

As responsibility lies with those conducting the business or undertaking, they are must ensure (as much as reasonably practicable) the health and safety of:

  • Their employees engaged, or caused to be engaged with them,
  • As well as employees whose activities in carrying out the work are influenced or directed by the employer.

Businesses that delegate responsibility to a work health and safety officer (WHSO), will require these officers to handle all of these matters and report back to the owner/employer.

In undertaking this kind of role, WHSO’s will commonly:

  • Ensure the workplace and work practices are compliant with health and safety regulations relevant to the business and industry.
  • Immediately notify the business owner regarding: 
    • any incident they are aware of that has occurred; or 
    • any imminent or immediate risk to health and safety.  
  • Investigate, or assist in investigations of, any incidents that have occurred in the workplace.  
  • Assist routine inspections of the business and workplace by industry regulators. 
  • Create and manage educational and training programs for the workplace and employees.

As mentioned, it is also up to everyone in the workplace to be responsible for their own health and safety, and not put the safety of others at risk. The health and safety of others is put at risk when someone:

  • acting in a manner that is unsafe,
  • not following the designated safe work practices,
  • Or not reporting a situation that might result in someone getting hurt.

Becoming certified in Health & Safety

To be a health and safety officer, you need to undergo training and become certified in WHS. This is also an important aspect for many individuals working in HR, as this department is usually in charge of overseeing the health and safety of employees, along with other human resources tasks. 

Online WHS officer courses offer a convenient and flexible method for achieving nationally recognised qualifications and preparing for a career in WHS, or to advance your career further. 

There are a few options available for a range of experience levels, with each delivering a recognised certification upon graduation so that you can pursue WHS anywhere in the country and in a range of industries.

Some of the best courses for WHS include: 

BSB41419 Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety

This qualification is suitable for people who have been working in a Work Health and Safety role or those who want to expand their skillset. This course reflects the role of workers who apply a broad knowledge base in a wide variety of contexts and may include coordinators, advisors and facilitators.

It is available at OPEC College through study or Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). 

BSB51319 Diploma of Work Health and Safety

The Diploma is suitable for people who coordinate and maintain the Work Health and Safety program in an organisation and want to formalise or develop their skills. It reflects the role of practitioners who apply a substantial knowledge base and well-developed skills in a wide variety of WHS contexts.

It is available at OPEC College through study or Recognition of Prior Learning. 

BSB60619 Advanced Diploma of Work Health and Safety

The Advanced Diploma is suitable for people who apply advanced practical knowledge to coordinate, facilitate and maintain the Work Health and Safety program in one or more fields of work in an organisation, such as a WHS practitioner or HR practitioner. It is ideal for people looking to formalise their skills and advance their career as an occupational health and safety professional.

OPEC College offers this as an RPL only course. 

If you’re interested in finding out more about WHS or any of our course offerings, get in touch with our team by calling 1300 99 6732 or reaching out here



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