Unit of competency details

BSBWHS505 - Investigate WHS incidents (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
Supersedes and is equivalent to BSBWHS505A - Investigate WHS incidentsUpdated to meet Standards for Training Packages 24/Mar/2015
Is superseded by and equivalent to BSBWHS515 - Lead initial response to and investigate WHS incidents 29/Aug/2019

ReleaseRelease date
1 1 (this release) 25/Mar/2015


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  30/Jul/2015 
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Unit Of competency

Modification History



Release 1

This version first released with BSB Business Services Training Package Version 1.0.


This unit describes the skills and knowledge required to plan, conduct and report on investigations of work health and safety (WHS) incidents that have resulted in, or have the potential to result in, injury or damage.

It covers conducting an initial assessment of the situation; establishing the scope and legal parameters of the investigation; conducting a systematic analysis to identify underlying causes and actions for prevention; and reporting on the outcomes of the investigation appropriate to the potential severity of the incident, which may include accessing specialist expertise.

This unit applies to individuals required to investigate incidents in relation to prevention of future incidents.

The unit applies to people who work in a range of WHS roles across all industries and who apply a substantial knowledge base and well-developed skills in a wide variety of WHS contexts.

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 Model WHS Legislation has not been implemented RTOs are advised to contextualise the unit of competency by referring to the existing State/Territory OHS legislative requirements.

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

Unit Sector

Regulation, Licensing and Risk – Work Health and Safety

Elements and Performance Criteria



Elements describe the essential outcomes.

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element.

1 Ensure initial responses to the incident are carried out according to requirements

1.1 Prepare and implement a workplace procedure for incident  investigation

1.2 Ensure site of the incident is safe and secured and that the immediate needs  of those involved in the incident are met

1.3 Ensure WHS legislative requirements  are met

1.4 Ensure other actions are performed to meet requirements of relevant workplace policies, procedures, processes and systems

2 Develop an investigation plan

2.1 Apply knowledge of WHS legislation  and workplace policies, procedures and systems to assist with identifying duty holders  and ensure requirements of WHS legislation and workplace policies, procedures, processes and systems are met by the investigation plan

2.2 Form an appropriate investigation team

2.3 Define the scope and purpose of the investigation and ensure they are appropriate to the scope and nature of the incident

2.4 Ensure participation of, and consultation with individuals and parties  as part of the planning process, specifying agreed processes for all phases of the investigation

2.5 Identify, document and obtain necessary resources to conduct the investigation, including expert advice if required

2.6 Identify, address and document barriers to investigation 

2.7 Ensure planning includes agreed timelines, objectives, responsibilities, roles, documentation, actions and outcomes

3 Collect information and data

3.1 Identify and access sources of information and data

3.2 Inspect incident site, equipment and other evidence, and document outcome of inspection

3.3 Gather information and data in ways that ensure objectivity, confidentiality, validity and accuracy

4 Analyse information and data gathered to identify immediate and underlying causes and practical prevention measures

4.1 Ensure investigation team understands, identifies and applies the conceptual basis for the analysis  

4.2 Construct timeline of events  leading up to the incident

4.3 Investigate key events, conditions and/or circumstances that together resulted in the incident 

4.4 Develop actions, interventions and practical measures to prevent the re-occurrence of the incident and to address root causes 

4.5 Detail recommended actions, interventions or measures, and plans for their implementation and evaluation

5 Compile and communicate investigation report

5.1 Prepare a report on the investigation, using objective language

5.2 Cite evidence and basis for conclusions and recommendations

5.3 Communicate the report to relevant individuals and parties

Foundation Skills

This section describes language, literacy, numeracy and employment skills incorporated in the performance criteria that are required for competent performance.






1.1, 2.1, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, 2.6, 2.7, 3.2, 4.2, 4.5, 5.1, 5.2

  • Documents procedures, plans and outcomes using appropriate organisational formats and industry specific terminology
  • Develops reports using structure, format and language appropriate for purpose and audience

Oral communication

1.2, 1.4, 2.4, 3.3, 4.1, 5.3

  • Uses appropriate language and non-verbal features to provide support, give instructions or request information
  • Listens closely to extract main ideas and to evaluate responses for accuracy and validity


2.7, 3.1, 4.3, 4.5

  • Extracts and evaluates the mathematical information embedded in sources of incident information and data
  • Performs calculations in relation to resource requirements, timelines and evaluation measures

Navigate the world of work

1.1-1.4, 2.1

  • Accepts responsibility for developing, implementing or modifying workplace procedures applicable to investigation contexts
  • Understands and keeps up to date with changes to legislation or regulations relevant to own rights and responsibilities and considers implications of these when negotiating, planning and undertaking work

Interact with others

1.2, 2.4, 3.3, 4.1, 5.3

  • Identifies and uses appropriate conventions and protocols when communicating with parties involved in various investigation stages
  • Collaborates with others to achieve joint outcomes, playing an active role in facilitating effective group interaction
  • Takes a leadership role in helping develop team understanding of investigation requirements

Get the work done

1.1, 1.3, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.5, 2.6, 2.7, 3.1, 3.3, 4.3, 4.4, 4.5, 5.1

  • Uses logical planning processes, and an increasingly intuitive understanding of context, to identify relevant information and risks, and to identify and evaluate alternative strategies and resources for investigation processes
  • Sequences and schedules complex activities, monitors implementation and manages relevant communication
  • Uses analytical processes to decide on a course of action, establishing criteria for deciding between options, seeking input and advice from others when necessary
  • Uses digital systems and tools for data collection and analysis, and communication and reporting of incidents

Range of Conditions

This section specifies different work environments and conditions that may affect performance. Essential operating conditions that may be present (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) are included.

Incidents include:

  • accidents
  • incidents as referred to in WHS legislation
  • major-to-minor incidents resulting in:
  • major-to-minor injuries and diseases
  • major-to-minor damage to property, equipment, work processes or the environment
  • near misses, where no injury or damage occurs

The incident analysis must be based on:

  • adopting an open-minded and objective approach
  • analysing policies, procedures, processes and systems in place at the time of the incident
  • focusing on the 'how', 'what' and 'why' of the incident
  • not focusing on individual behaviour or fault
  • using applicable models of causation and occurrence.

Unit Mapping Information

Code and title  

current version 

Code and title 

previous version 


Equivalence status 

BSBWHS505 Investigate WHS incidents

BSBWHS505A Investigate WHS incidents

Updated to meet Standards for Training Packages

Equivalent unit


Companion Volume implementation guides are found in VETNet - https://vetnet.gov.au/Pages/TrainingDocs.aspx?q=11ef6853-ceed-4ba7-9d87-4da407e23c10


Assessment requirements

Modification History



Release 1

This version first released with BSB Business Services Training Package Version 1.0.

Performance Evidence

Evidence of the ability to:

  • prepare and implement an initial response to an incident that complies with legislative and organisational requirements and considers the safety and security of individuals and the site
  • systematically develop and document a plan to investigate an incident
  • collect, document and analyse data and information relevant to an incident investigation ensuring that all individuals in the investigation team understand and follow required processes
  • prepare and communicate an investigation report in required format that identifies the events leading up to the incident, immediate and underlying causes, points at which the incident could have been prevented and recommendations arising from the investigation.

Note: If a specific volume or frequency is not stated, then evidence must be provided at least once.

Knowledge Evidence

To complete the unit requirements safely and effectively, the individual must:

  • outline ethics related to conducting an investigation
  • describe the characteristics and composition of the workforce impacting on the investigation of work health and safety (WHS) incidents, including:
  • cultural background
  • workplace diversity
  • gender
  • language, literacy and numeracy levels
  • organisational structure, including employment status, shifts and geographical location
  • list and describe internal and external sources of information and data relevant to investigations
  • describe organisational WHS policies, procedures, processes and systems relevant to work role
  • describe requirements under WHS legislation for notifying and reporting incidents and enforcement notices, and rights and powers of WHS inspectors
  • outline types and characteristics of incidents including causes and incident management processes.

Assessment Conditions

Assessment must be conducted in a safe environment where evidence gathered demonstrates consistent performance of typical activities experienced by individuals carrying out work health and safety duties in the workplace and include access to:

  • workplace policies and procedures
  • office equipment and resources
  • relevant Acts, regulations, codes of practice, standards and guidelines relating to risks found in the workplace
  • case studies and, where possible, real situations.

Assessors must satisfy NVR/AQTF assessor requirements.


Companion Volume implementation guides are found in VETNet - https://vetnet.gov.au/Pages/TrainingDocs.aspx?q=11ef6853-ceed-4ba7-9d87-4da407e23c10