Unit of competency details

ACMWHS401A - Maintain workplace health and safety processes (Release 1)


ReleaseStatusRelease date
1 1 (this release)Current 07/Dec/2012

Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by and equivalent to ACMWHS401 - Maintain workplace health and safety processesUpdated to meet Standards for Training Packages 28/Nov/2017

Training packages that include this unit


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 061301 Occupational Health And Safety  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 061301 Occupational Health And Safety  06/May/2013 
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Modification History


TP Version 




Initial release

Unit Descriptor

This Unit of Competency covers the process required by an employee with supervisory responsibilities, to maintain organisation workplace health and safety processes.

Application of the Unit

This Unit is intended to be applied at the level of team leader or supervisor.

NOTE: The terms Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) and Work Health and Safety (WHS) are equivalent and generally either can be used in the workplace. In jurisdictions where the National Model WHS Legislation has not been implemented Registered Training Organisations are advised to contextualise the unit of competency by referring to the existing State/Territory OHS Legislative requirements as well as any specific workplace risks, hazards and associated safety practices.

In addition to legal and ethical responsibilities, all Units of Competency in the ACM10 Animal Care and Management Training Package have the requirement for animals to be handled gently and calmly. The individual is required to exhibit appropriate care for animals so that stress and discomfort is minimised.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Licensing, legislative, regulatory or certification requirements may apply to this unit. Therefore, it will be necessary to check with the relevant State or Territory regulators for current licensing, legislative or regulatory requirements before undertaking this unit.



Employability Skills Information

This Unit contains employability skills

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements describe the essential outcomes of a Unit of Competency.

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element. Where bold italicised text is used, further information is detailed in the required skills and knowledge section and the range statement. Assessment of performance is to be consistent with the evidence guide.

Elements and Performance Criteria



1. Provide information to the work group

1.1 Relevant requirements of workplace health and safety legislation, standards, codes of practice/compliance codes, guidance materials  and safe working procedures and practices are explained to the work group clearly and accurately.

1.2 Information on organisation policies and procedures  is provided to the work group in a readily accessible manner and clearly explained.

1.3 Roles and responsibilities of health and safety representatives and workplace health and safety committees, supervisors and managers are clearly explained.

1.4 Information is provided to the work group, in an accessible and understandable format, on hazards , the outcomes of risk assessments , and required risk controls. 

2. Ensure others are able to implement safe work practices

2.1 Personal protective equipment  appropriate to the work is available and functional.

2.2 Processes are implemented to confirm that others in the work group can identify hazards, assess risks and required risk controls and are following safe work practices, and organisation policies and procedures.

2.3 Workplace health and safety training needs are identified and either addressed or these needs are reported to those with control.

3. Implement workplace health and safety participative processes

3.1 The work group is consulted and provided with advice in relation to workplace health and safety matters relevant to their work.

3.2 Workplace health and safety issues raised are dealt with promptly, and in accordance with organisation procedures and legislative requirements, or referred to appropriate personnel.

3.3 Outcomes of consultation regarding workplace health and safety are recorded and promptly communicated to the work group.

4. Monitor compliance with work procedures

4.1 Work procedures  are checked for availability, clarity and completeness, addressing any deficiencies or reporting them to appropriate persons.

4.2 Any deviations from procedures are identified and addressed or reported to appropriate persons.

4.3 Hazard identification  and reporting processes  are evaluated for effectiveness and any deficiencies are addressed or reported to appropriate persons.

4.4 Workplace health and safety housekeeping practices  are monitored to ensure that workplace standards are maintained, and action is taken to address any deficiencies.

4.5 Own behaviour is consistent with organisation safe working procedures and practices.

5. Implement hazard identification, risk assessment and risk control procedures

5.1 Hazards are identified, assessed and eliminated with residual risk  reported according to organisation procedures.

5.2 Risk assessments are conducted.

5.3 Control measures are developed, taking account of the hierarchy of risk control .

5.4 Outcomes of risk assessments are implemented and identified risk controls supported.

5.5 Deficiencies in workplace health and safety risk controls are identified and addressed and/or reported in accordance with organisation procedures.

5.6 Personal professional limitations are identified and expert advice  is sought as required.

6. Implement organisation procedures for maintaining workplace health and safety records

6.1 Feedback is obtained to ensure that work group is aware of organisation reporting requirements.

6.2 Workplace health and safety records  are reviewed to confirm that they are completed in an accurate, thorough and timely manner in accordance with legislative  and organisation requirements.

6.3 Aggregate information and data from records is used to identify hazards and monitor risk controls.

7. Implement emergency procedures

7.1 Feedback is obtained to ensure that emergency  procedures are available and known by the work group.

7.2 Processes are implemented to ensure that emergency equipment  is available and routinely checked for functionality.

7.3 Processes are implemented to ensure that others in the work group are able to response appropriately to emergencies.

7.4 Investigations are conducted, or contributed to, to identify cause of emergencies.

7.5 Control measures to prevent recurrence and minimise risk of emergencies are identified and implemented or supported.

Required Skills and Knowledge

This section describes the skills and knowledge required for this Unit.

Required skills

Required skills include: 

It is critical that the candidate demonstrate the ability to maintain workplace health and safety processes in the work context particularly in relation to the supervision of a small workgroup by:

  • addressing their own health and safety
  • addressing health and safety of others who may be affected by their actions
  • supporting members of the workgroup who may be less experienced in the workplace in regard to workplace health and safety matters
  • taking initiative to address hazards and manage risks at a systemic level.

In addition, the candidate must be able to:

  • communicate with personnel in the work team, other work teams, managers and experts advisers
  • conduct team meetings
  • relate to people from a range of social, cultural and ethic backgrounds and physical and mental abilities
  • supervise and direct staff
  • take into account, use and promote opportunities to address waste minimisation, environmental responsibility and sustainable practice issues
  • use language and literacy skills to interpret workplace health and safety documentation
  • use technical skills to access workplace health and safety information.

Required knowledge

Required knowledge includes: 

  • general duty requirements of the national Work Health and Safety model and relevant state/territory legislation that influence regulatory requirements relevant to the particular industry/type of worksite
  • hazard identification procedures such as workplace inspections and review of workplace data
  • knowledge and understanding of guidance material including codes of practice/compliance codes relevant to the particular industry/type of work site
  • legislative requirements for record keeping and reporting
  • nature of common workplace hazards for example chemicals, noise, manual handling, work postures, underfoot hazards and moving parts of machinery
  • personal protective equipment requirements, including use, storage and maintenance
  • principles of risk management including the hierarchy of risk control and its application
  • relationship between workplace health and safety and sustainability in the workplace, including the importance of maintaining safety in the workplace to establishing and maintaining environmental, economic, workforce and social sustainability
  • roles and responsibilities of health and safety representatives and workplace health and safety c ommittees
  • roles and responsibilities of workers, officers and Persons Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBUs)
  • standards and guidelines related to emergency procedures
  • sources of workplace health and safety information both internal and external to the workplace, including Safe Work Australia and relevant state/territory regulators
  • the difference between hazard and risk
  • workplace specific information, including:
  • designated person for raising workplace health and safety issues
  • hazard identification procedures relevant to the hazards in their workplace
  • hazards of the particular work environment
  • organisation procedures related to workplace health and safety including hazard, incident and injury reporting, hazard identification, risk assessment and control, consultation and participation, incident investigation, record keeping
  • potential emergency situations, alarms and signals and required response.
  • risk controls for specific hazards
  • work procedures related to the work of the team/work group, including use of personal protective equipment and emergency response.

Evidence Guide

The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Overview of assessment 

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this Unit

To demonstrate competence in this Unit, a candidate must be able to provide evidence of maintaining workplace health and safety processes in the workplace particularly in relation to the supervision of a small workgroup.

Evidence gathered by an assessor to determine competence will include:

  • written or verbal responses to scenarios and case studies
  • provision of workplace examples
  • evidence from workplace supervisor reports
  • portfolio of workplace documentation.

Evidence of workplace performance over time must be obtained to inform a judgement of competence.

Context of and specific resources for assessment

Products that could be used as evidence include:

  • verbal and written responses to verbal, written or physical scenarios
  • completed examples of information provided to work group, risk assessments, risk controls developed, reports to managers, reports on workplace inspections, audits and emergency exercises
  • reports from work group members and supervisor.

Processes that could be used as evidence include:

  • how information transfer was organised and conducted
  • how risk assessments were conducted
  • how deviations from workplace procedures were addressed.

Method of assessment

This Unit should be assessed together with other Units of Competence relevant to the function or work role.

Guidance information for assessment

Access and equity considerations:

  • all assessment should be applied with respect to relevant work-related access and equity issues
  • competence should reflect an ability to work in a culturally diverse environment.
  • assessors and trainers must take into account relevant access and equity issues, in particular relating to factors impacting on Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander clients and communities.

Range Statement

The range statement relates to the Unit of Competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below. Essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) may also be included.

Workplace health and safety legislation 

Workplace health and safety legislation varies in different states and will include:

  • National Work Health and Safety Model
  • current relevant State/Territory workplace health and safety legislation
  • relevant state/territory Manual Handling Code of Conduct.


Standards include documents produced by national bodies, workplace health and safety regulators or industry bodies, that prescribe preventative action to avert occupational deaths, injuries and diseases.

Standards are of an advisory nature only, except where a law adopts the standard and thus makes it mandatory.

They may be called up as evidence in court or other enforcement action.

Codes of practice/compliance codes 

Codes of practice/compliance codes are documents generally prepared to provide advice to employers and workers, of an acceptable way of achieving standards. They may:

  • be incorporated into regulations
  • not relate to a standard
  • be called up as evidence in court or other enforcement action.

Guidance material 

Guidance material is an advisory technical document, providing detailed information for use by unions, employers, management, workplace health and safety committee members and representatives, safety officers and others requiring guidance. It

  • advises on 'what to do' and 'how to do it'.
  • has no legal standing.

Organisation policies and procedures 

Organisation policies and procedures include policies and procedures underpinning the management of workplace health and safety, including:

  • hazard, incident and injury reporting
  • hazard identification, risk assessment and control
  • human resources policies and procedures such as harassment and grievance procedures, inductions programs, team meetings, alcohol and drug policies
  • consultation and participation
  • incident investigation
  • quality system documentation.


A hazard is a source or situation with the potential for harm in terms of human injury or ill-health, damage to property, the environment, or a combination of these.

Common workplace hazards (from Safe Work Australia Work Health and Safety Risks - Code of Practice) include:

  • manual tasks - overexertion or repetitive movement can cause muscular strain
  • gravity - falling objects, falls, slips and trips of people can cause fractures, bruises, lacerations, dislocations, concussion, permanent injuries or death
  • electricity - potential ignition source. Exposure to live electrical wires can cause shock, burns or death from electrocution
  • machinery and equipment - being hit by moving vehicles, or being caught by moving parts of machinery can cause fractures, bruises, lacerations, dislocations, permanent injuries or death
  • hazardous chemicals - chemicals (such as acids, hydrocarbons, heavy metals) and dusts (such as asbestos and silica) can cause respiratory illnesses, cancers or dermatitis
  • extreme temperatures - heat can cause burns, heat stroke or fatigue. Cold can cause hypothermia or frost bite
  • noise - exposure to loud noise can cause permanent hearing damage
  • radiation - ultra violet, welding arc flashes, micro waves and lasers can cause burns, cancer or blindness
  • biological - micro-organisms can cause hepatitis, legionnaires disease, Q fever, HIV/AIDS or allergies
  • psychosocial hazards - effects of work-related stress, bullying, violence and work-related fatigue.

Examples of hazards in an animal care environment may include:

  • animal bites, envenomation, kicks, scratches or crush injuries
  • biological hazardous waste
  • bodily fluids
  • chemicals and medicines
  • sharps
  • zoonotic and exotic disease possibilities.


Risk in relation to any hazard means the probability and consequences of injury, illness or damage resulting from exposure to a hazard.

Risk assessments 

Risk assessments involve analysing a hazard to identify factors influencing the risk and the range of potential consequences:

  • effectiveness of existing controls
  • likelihood of each consequence considering exposure and hazard level

And combining these in some way to obtain a level of risk.

Risk controls 

Risk controls include the devices and methods to, where practicable, eliminate the hazard or, where this is not practicable, minimise the risk associated with the hazard.

Personal protective equipment 

Personal protective equipment includes equipment worn by a person to provide protection from hazards, by providing a physical barrier between the person and the hazard and may include:

  • head protection
  • face and eye protection
  • respiratory protection
  • hearing protection
  • hand protection
  • clothing and footwear.

Work procedures 

Work procedures include:

  • batch specifications
  • operator or manufacturer manuals
  • procedures for selecting, fitting, using and maintaining personal protective equipment
  • standard operating procedures.

Hazard identification 

Hazards identification is the process of identifying sources of harm, and may be required:

  • before new forms of work and organisation of work are implemented
  • before changes are made to workplace, equipment, work processes or work arrangements
  • as part of planning major tasks or activities, such as equipment shutdowns
  • following an incident report
  • when new knowledge becomes available
  • at regular intervals during normal operations
  • prior to disposal of equipment, or materials.

Reporting procedures 

Reporting procedures include:

  • hazards reports
  • incident reports
  • maintenance requests and reports
  • reports on completion of inspections
  • reports of non-compliance with work procedures
  • reporting on progress of action plans.

Workplace health and safety housekeeping practices 

Workplace health and safety housekeeping practices address items such as:

  • functioning services, such as lighting, air flow and ventilation, emergency lighting
  • storage areas, including manual handling issues, storage, personal protective equipment
  • signage
  • underfoot conditions
  • unobstructed walkways and emergency exits
  • work space around equipment and machinery
  • workplace cleanliness and tidiness.

Residual risk 

Residual risk is the risk which remains after controls have been implemented.

Hierarchy of risk control 

Hierarchy of risk control (from Safe Work Australia Work Health and Safety Risks - Code of Practice) includes:

  • Level 1 controls
  • eliminate hazards
  • Level 2 controls
  • substitute the hazard with something safer
  • isolate the hazard from people
  • use engineering controls
  • Level 3 controls
  • use administrative controls
  • use personal protective equipment (PPE).

Expert advice 

Expert advice can be obtained from persons either internal or external to the organisation including:

  • audiologists
  • ergonomists
  • employee assistance and workplace counselling services
  • occupational health professionals
  • occupational hygienists
  • health and safety representatives
  • workplace health and safety c ommittees
  • safety engineers
  • safety professionals
  • toxicologists

Expert advice may also be obtained from other persons providing specific technical knowledge or expertise in areas related to workplace health and safety including:

  • engineers (e.g. design, acoustic, mechanical, civil)
  • health professionals
  • injury management advisors
  • legal practitioners with experience in workplace health and safety
  • maintenance and trade persons
  • regulatory bodies
  • risk managers
  • security and emergency response personnel
  • workplace trainers and assessors.

Workplace health and safety records 

Workplace health and safety records may include:

  • employees handbooks
  • environmental monitoring records
  • first aid records
  • hazard, incident and investigation reports
  • health surveillance records
  • job safety analyses (JSAs), safe work method statements and risk assessments
  • maintenance and testing reports
  • material safety data sheets (MSDSs) and registers
  • minutes of meetings
  • plant and equipment operation records, including those relevant to registered plant
  • training records
  • workplace inspection reports.


Legislative requirements for record keeping include those specified under workplace health and safety legislation for:

  • serious incident and injury reporting
  • registered plant
  • hazardous substances and dangerous goods
  • environmental monitoring
  • health surveillance

Privacy legislation.


Emergencies may include any abnormal or sudden event that requires immediate action, such as:

  • serious injury events
  • events requiring evacuation
  • explosion and bomb alerts
  • external emergencies and natural disasters, such as flood, storm and traffic accident impacting on the organisation
  • fires and explosions
  • hazardous substance and chemical spills
  • internal emergencies, such as loss of power or water supply and structural collapse
  • security emergencies, such as armed robberies, intruders and disturbed persons.

Emergency equipment 

Emergency equipment is equipment required as part of the emergency response by the organisation and includes:

  • communication equipment
  • evacuation alarms
  • evacuation equipment, especially that for disabled persons
  • eye wash shower or portable eye washes
  • fire extinguishers and equipment
  • first aid equipment
  • items of clothing, such as coloured hats and vests
  • torches.

Unit Sector(s)

Workplace health and safety

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