Unit of competency details

BSBOHS504B - Apply principles of OHS risk management (Release 1)


ReleaseStatusRelease date
1 1 (this release)Current 10/Mar/2009

Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by and equivalent to BSBWHS503A - Contribute to the systematic management of WHS riskTerminology updated to reflect new work health and safety legislation. Unit revised to support the development and implementation of a broader WHS management system - EQUIVALENT. 17/Dec/2012

Training packages that include this unit

CodeTitleSort Table listing Training packages that include this unit by the Title columnRelease
PUA00 - Public Safety Training PackagePublic Safety Training Package 8.1 
PSP12 - Public Sector Training PackagePublic Sector Training Package 1.0 
PSP04 - Public Sector Training PackagePublic Sector Training Package 4.1-4.2 
FPI11 - Forest and Forest Products Training PackageForest and Forest Products Training Package 1.0-1.1 
FPI05 - Forest and Forest Products Training PackageForest and Forest Products Training Package 3.0 
FNS10 - Financial Services Training PackageFinancial Services Training Package 1.0-5.1 
DEF12 - Defence Training PackageDefence Training Package 2.0 
CPP07 - Property Services Training PackageProperty Services Training Package 9.0-14.5 
CPC08 - Construction, Plumbing and Services Training PackageConstruction, Plumbing and Services Training Package 6.0-9.4 
BSB07 - Business Services Training PackageBusiness Services Training Package 5.0-6.0 
AHC10 - Agriculture, Horticulture and Conservation and Land ManagementAgriculture, Horticulture and Conservation and Land Management 2.0-4.0 

Qualifications that include this unit

CodeTitleSort Table listing Qualifications that include this unit by the Title columnRelease
PUA51609 - Diploma of Public Safety (Preventive Health)Diploma of Public Safety (Preventive Health) 
PSP51212 - Diploma of Government (Occupational Health & Safety)Diploma of Government (Occupational Health & Safety) 
PSP51204 - Diploma of Government (Occupational Health Safety)Diploma of Government (Occupational Health Safety) 1-2 
FPI50411 - Diploma of Timber Truss and Frame DesignDiploma of Timber Truss and Frame Design 1-2 
FPI50410 - Diploma of Timber Truss and Frame DesignDiploma of Timber Truss and Frame Design 
FPI50311 - Diploma of Timber Truss and Frame ManufactureDiploma of Timber Truss and Frame Manufacture 1-2 
FPI50310 - Diploma of Timber Truss and Frame ManufactureDiploma of Timber Truss and Frame Manufacture 
FPI50111 - Diploma of Forest and Forest ProductsDiploma of Forest and Forest Products 1-2 
FPI50105 - Diploma of Forest and Forest ProductsDiploma of Forest and Forest Products 
FNS60811 - Advanced Diploma of Integrated Risk ManagementAdvanced Diploma of Integrated Risk Management 1-3 
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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  25/Jul/2008 
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Modification History

Not applicable.

Unit Descriptor

Unit descriptor 

This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to use a generic approach to identify hazards, and to assess and control occupational health and safety (OHS) risks.

No licensing, legislative, regulatory or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of endorsement.

Application of the Unit

Application of the unit 

This unit applies to individuals with managerial responsibility for providing a systematic approach to hazard identification, risk assessment and risk control, with the emphasis on elimination or, where this is not possible, minimisation of risk. It also includes conceptual models for understanding the nature of hazards.

The unit provides a basis for the hazard specific competencies in BSBOHS505C Manage hazards in the work environment, and BSBOHS506B Monitor and facilitate the management of hazards associated with plant.

This unit is underpinned by BSBOHS403B Identify hazards and assess OHS risks, and BSBOHS404B Contribute to the implementation of strategies to control OHS risk.

A more advanced approach to risk assessment, which identifies the separate elements of risk analysis and risk evaluation, is provided in BSBOHS603B Analyse and evaluate OHS risk.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Not applicable.


Prerequisite units 

Employability Skills Information

Employability skills 

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. Access sources of information and data to identify hazards

1.1. Access external sources of information and data  to assist in identifying hazards 

1.2. Review workplace sources of information and data  to access and assist in identification of hazards

1.3. Seek input from stakeholders , key personnel  and OHS specialists 

1.4. Conduct formal and informal research to ensure currency of information with workplace issues 

2. Analyse the work environment to identify hazards

2.1. Define, document and communicate occasions when action for hazard identification is required 

2.2. Source tools  to assist in analysing potential hazards

2.3. Examine task demands  and task environment  for impact on the person to identify situations with a potential for injury or ill health

2.4. Examine workforce structure, organisation of work and work relationships to identify situations with a potential for injury or ill health

2.5. Examine work environment for agents  with a potential for injury or ill health

2.6. Seek input from stakeholders to clarify and confirm issues

3. Assess risk associated with hazards

3.1. Identify factors contributing to risk 

3.2. Identify current risk controls for each hazard

3.3. Evaluate adequacy of current controls (if any), taking account of relevant standards  and knowledge

3.4. Identify discrepancies between current controls and required quality of control

3.5. Prioritise  hazards requiring further control action

3.6. Document method and outcomes of risk assessment 

4. Control risk associated with hazards

4.1. Develop a range of control options in consultation with stakeholders, taking account of the outcomes of the risk assessment and the hierarchy of control 

4.2. Identify potential factors impacting on the effectiveness of controls 

4.3. Seek advice from OHS specialists and key personnel if required

4.4. Identify and seek appropriate authority and relevant resources to initiate and maintain controls

4.5. Identify and document actions required to achieve change

4.6. Analyse extent of change and reduction in risk, as a result of controls

5. Maintain hazard identification and risk control processes

5.1. Establish and maintain a risk register  relevant to the workplace

5.2. Document and communicate risk management procedures to stakeholders and key personnel, as appropriate

5.3. Document and communicate outcomes of risk management processes to stakeholders and key personnel, as appropriate

5.4. Involve stakeholders and operational staff in risk management processes

5.5. Identify situations where OHS specialists may be required

6. Monitor and review risk management processes

6.1. Determine frequency, method and scope of review in consultation with workplace stakeholders and key personnel

6.2. Ensure stakeholders and key personnel have input to the review

6.3. Identify areas for improvement in the risk management processes and make recommendations

6.4. Prepare action plans, including allocated responsibilities and timeframes for implementation

6.5. Regularly review effectiveness of risk management processes

Required Skills and Knowledge


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

Required skills 

  • analytical skills to:
  • identify areas for OHS risk improvement
  • analyse relevant workplace information and data
  • contribute to the assessment of the resources needed to systematically manage OHS and, where appropriate, access resources
  • attention to detail when making observations and recording outcomes
  • research skills to access relevant OHS information and data
  • numeracy skills to carry out simple arithmetical calculations (e.g. % change), and to produce graphs of workplace information and data to identify trends and recognise limitations
  • communication skills to:
  • conduct effective formal and informal meetings and to communicate effectively with personnel at all levels of the organisation, OHS specialists and, as required, emergency services personnel
  • prepare reports for a range of target groups including OHS committee, OHS representatives, managers and supervisors
  • use language and literacy skills appropriate to the workgroup and the task
  • consultation and negotiation skills to develop plans and to implement and monitor designated actions
  • project management skills to achieve change in OHS matters
  • organisational skills to manage own tasks within a timeframe
  • information technology skills to access and enter internal and external information and data on OHS and to use a range of communication media

Required knowledge 

  • organisational behaviour and culture as it impacts on OHS and on change
  • basic physiology relevant to understanding mode of action of physical, biological and chemical agents on the body and how they produce harm
  • basic principles of incident causation and injury processes
  • characteristics, mode of action and units of measurement of major hazard types
  • concept of common law duty of care
  • difference between hazard and risk
  • ethics related to professional practice
  • how the characteristics and composition of the workforce impact on risk and the systematic approach to managing OHS, for example:
  • communication skills
  • cultural background/workplace diversity
  • gender
  • labour market changes
  • language, literacy and numeracy
  • structure and organisation of workforce e.g. part-time, casual and contract workers, shift rosters, geographical location
  • workers with specific needs
  • internal and external sources of OHS information and data
  • language, literacy and cultural profile of the workgroup
  • legislative requirements for OHS information and data, and consultation
  • limitations of generic hazard and risk checklists, and risk ranking processes
  • methods of providing evidence of compliance with OHS legislation
  • nature of workplace processes (including work flow, planning and control) and hazards relevant to the particular workplace
  • organisational culture as it impacts on the workgroup
  • organisational OHS policies and procedures
  • other function areas that impact on the management of OHS
  • principles and practices of systematic approaches to managing OHS
  • professional liability in relation to providing advice
  • requirements under hazard specific OHS legislation and codes of practice
  • risk as a measure of uncertainty and the factors that affect risk
  • roles and responsibilities under OHS legislation of employees, including supervisors and contractors
  • standard industry controls for a range of hazards
  • state/territory and commonwealth OHS legislation (acts, regulations, codes of practice, associated standards and guidance material) including prescriptive and performance approaches and links to other relevant legislation such as industrial relations, equal employment opportunity, workers compensation, rehabilitation
  • structure and forms of legislation including regulations, codes of practice, associated standards and guidance material
  • types of hazard identification tools, including job safety analysis (JSA)

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 

Evidence of the following is essential:

  • products used in:
  • the application of a risk management approach to identifying hazards
  • assessing OHS risk
  • controlling OHS risk
  • how these products were developed and implemented
  • knowledge of relevant OHS legislation (acts, regulations, codes of practice, associated standards and guidance material.

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

Assessment must ensure:

  • access to workplace or simulated workplace
  • access to workplace documentation
  • access to office equipment and resources
  • access to relevant legislation, standards and guidelines relating to risks found in the workplace.

Method of assessment 

A range of assessment methods should be used to assess practical skills and knowledge. The following examples are appropriate for this unit:

  • analysis of responses to case studies and scenarios
  • assessment of written reports on the effectiveness of the hazard identification, risk assessment, control and management actions taken
  • demonstration of techniques used to identify hazards, assess associated risks, control monitor and evaluate risks
  • direct questioning combined with review of portfolios of evidence and third party reports of on-the-job performance by the candidate
  • observation of performance in role plays
  • observation of presentations
  • oral or written questioning to assess knowledge of the OHS information system
  • review of action plans
  • written reports on hazard identification and risk management activities, matrices and measurements undertaken.

Guidance information for assessment 

Holistic assessment with other units relevant to the industry sector, workplace and job role is recommended, for example:

  • BSBOHS403B Identify hazards and assess OHS risks
  • BSBOHS404B Contribute to the implementation of strategies to control OHS risk
  • BSBOHS603B Analyse and evaluate OHS risk.

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.

External sources of information and data  may include:

  • databases with national and state injury data such as National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS)
  • employer groups
  • industry bodies
  • journals and websites
  • legislation, codes of practice and standards
  • manufacturers' manual and specifications
  • OHS regulatory authorities
  • OHS specialists
  • unions.

Hazards  may include:

  • source or a situation with a potential for harm in terms of human injury or ill health
  • damage to property
  • damage to the environment
  • or a combination of these.

Workplace sources of information and data  may include:

  • audits
  • employees
  • hazard, incident and investigation reports
  • manufacturers' manuals and specifications
  • material safety data sheets (MSDSs)
  • minutes of meetings
  • OHS representatives
  • reports
  • workplace inspections.

Stakeholders  include:

  • employees
  • health and safety, and other employee representatives
  • managers
  • OHS committees
  • supervisors.

Key personnel  may include:

  • managers from other areas
  • people involved in OHS decision making or who are affected by OHS decisions

OHS specialists  may include:

  • engineers
  • ergonomists
  • occupational hygienists
  • organisational psychologists
  • toxicologists
  • workplace injury and return to work advisors.

Workplace issues  may include:

  • changes in equipment, including technology
  • changes in social, political or community environment
  • changes in work organisation, including:
  • contracting
  • hire arrangements
  • casualisation
  • supervisory arrangements
  • outworkers
  • rosters
  • shift work
  • work hours
  • work relations
  • changes in work practice
  • changes to legislation and standards
  • new knowledge on hazards
  • outcomes of court rulings.

Occasions when action for hazard identification is required  may include:

  • at design or pre-purchase of buildings, equipment and materials
  • at regular intervals during normal operations
  • before changes are made to workplace, equipment, work processes or work arrangements
  • commissioning or pre-implementation of new processes or practices
  • following an incident report
  • new forms of work and organisation of work
  • planning major tasks or activities, such as equipment shut-downs
  • prior to disposal of equipment, buildings or materials
  • when new knowledge becomes available.

Tools  may include:

  • audits
  • cause and effect diagrams
  • JSA
  • surveys.

Task demands  may include:

  • arousal and alertness
  • machine pacing or time pressure to complete a task
  • physical or physiological demands
  • repetitive nature of task
  • required precision or accuracy.

Task environment  may include:

  • air quality
  • lighting
  • noise
  • thermal

Agents  may be:

  • biological
  • chemical
  • ergonomic
  • nuclear
  • physical
  • psychosocial
  • radiological.

Factors contributing to risk  may include those associated with:

  • equipment
  • frequency and duration of exposure
  • individual/operator
  • number of people exposed/involved
  • task
  • work environment
  • work organisation.

Relevant standards  may include:

  • Australian and industry standards
  • codes of practice
  • current knowledge related to the specific hazard and controls
  • current practice in the industry
  • legislation.

Prioritising  hazards requiring further control action may include:

  • other recognised processes
  • specially designed tools
  • standard ranking tools.

Risk assessment  includes identification of:

  • factors contributing to risk
  • current controls and their adequacy
  • discrepancy between current control and required standard
  • prioritisation or ranking of a number of risks, where appropriate.

Hierarchy of control  may include:

  • eliminating hazards
  • and where this is not practicable, minimising risk by:
  • substitution
  • isolating the hazard from personnel
  • using engineering controls
  • using administrative controls (e.g. procedures, training)
  • using personal protective equipment (PPE).

Factors impacting on the effectiveness of controls  may include:

  • cultural diversity
  • language
  • literacy and numeracy levels
  • shift work and rostering arrangements
  • training required
  • workplace culture related to OHS including commitment by managers and supervisors and compliance with procedures and training
  • workplace organisational structures (size of organisation, geographic, hierarchical).

Risk register  may include:

  • list of hazards, their location and people exposed
  • possible control measures and dates for implementation
  • range of possible scenarios or circumstances under which the hazards may cause injury or damage
  • results of the risk analysis related to the hazards.

Unit Sector(s)

Unit sector 

Competency field

Competency field 

Regulation, Licensing and Risk - Occupational Health and Safety

Co-requisite units

Co-requisite units 

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