Unit of competency details

HLTWHS501A - Manage workplace WHS processes (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
Supersedes HLTOHS501A - Manage workplace OHS processesUpdated in V5 - Changes to address new national Work Health and Safety (WHS) legislation 06/May/2012
Is superseded by HLTWHS004 - Manage work health and safetyThis version was released in HLT Health Training Package release 1.0 and meets the requirements of the New Standards for Training Packages. 30/Jun/2013

Release Status:
ReleaseRelease date
1 1 (this release) 07/May/2012

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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  02/Oct/2012 
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Modification History

HLT07 Version 4

HLT07 Version 5


HLTOHS501A Manage workplace OHS processes

HLTWHS501A Manage workplace WHS processes

Updated in V5 - Changes to address new national Work Health and Safety (WHS) Bill and updated legislation

Unit Descriptor


This unit specifies the workplace performance required by an individual responsible for ongoing management of work health and safety (WHS) within an area of management responsibility where the WHS management processes have been set up by other persons, either internal or external to the organisation

Application of the Unit


Application of this unit should be contextualised to reflect any specific workplace risks, hazards and associated safety practices

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Not applicable.


Not applicable.

Employability Skills Information

Employability Skills 

This unit contains Employability Skills

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements define the essential outcomes of a unit of competency.

The Performance Criteria specify the level of performance required to demonstrate achievement of the Element. Terms in italics are elaborated in the Range Statement.

Elements and Performance Criteria

  • Manage WHS information and records

1.1 Identify and access relevant WHS legislation, standards, codes of practice/compliance codes, guidance material and other sources of WHS information and evaluate their relevance to the specific work context

1.2 Collect and collate WHS information to provide information on WHS requirements, trends and risk controls

1.3 Review records and record keeping processes to ensure that legal requirements for WHS record keeping are identified and addressed

1.4 Implement and monitor processes for ensuring that WHS records are accurately completed, collected and stored in accordance with legal requirements and workplace procedures

  • Manage WHS participative processes

2.1 Monitor participative processes to ensure compliance with legislative requirements and organisation procedures

2.2 Evaluate information provided to workers to ensure it is in a readily accessible and understandable format

2.3 Implement and monitor processes for ensuring that workgroup members have an opportunity, either directly or through their representative, to contribute to decisions that may affect their health and safety

2.4 Evaluate processes for addressing WHS issues, to ensure issues raised through consultation are resolved promptly and in line with organisation procedures and legislative requirements

2.5 Promptly provide information about the outcomes of consultation in a format and medium that is readily accessible to workers

  • Manage WHS risk management processes

3.1 Ensure hazard, incident, and injury reporting and investigation processes are in place, to meet legislative requirements and to inform future prevention strategies

3.2 Ensure processes are in place so that hazard identification and risk assessments occur according to organisation procedures

3.3 Ensure risk controls and hazard specific procedures are consistent with the hierarchy of control and are monitored to support compliance with legislative and regulatory requirements

3.4 Ensure processes are in place to identify and address any WHS implications of either proposed or implemented changes to the workplace, work processes or organisation of work

3.5 Recognise limits of own professional expertise and consult expert advisors as required

  • Manage WHS training program

4.1 Conduct an WHS training needs assessment for workgroup members, that takes account of legislative and regulatory requirements, internal policies and procedures, existing skills of workgroup members and risk control requirements

4.2 Implement and monitor training programs to ensure identified WHS training requirements are addressed

4.3 Implement and monitor processes to ensure that all new workers receive WHS induction

4.4 Access and consult relevant WHS and training specialists as required, in the development and implementation of the WHS training program(s)

  • Manage WHS continuous improvement process

5.1 Consider input from individuals and workgroup in identifying and implementing WHS improvement

5.2 Determine WHS priorities in consultation with appropriate managers and stakeholders

5.3 Develop WHS action plans taking account of priorities and training needs

5.4 Monitor achievements against the WHS plans and update plans accordingly

Required Skills and Knowledge

This describes the essential skills and knowledge and their level required for this unit.

Essential knowledge:

The candidate must be able to demonstrate essential knowledge required to effectively do the task outlined in elements and performance criteria of this unit, manage the task and manage contingencies in the context of the identified work role

This includes knowledge of:

  • Hazard identification procedures
  • Knowledge and understanding of guidance material including codes of practice/compliance codes relevant to the particular industry/type of work site
  • Legal and practical requirements for WHS training, WHS record keeping and reporting
  • Legislative requirements for consultation
  • Principles of risk assessment
  • Relationship between WHS and sustainability in the workplace, including the contribution of maintaining health and safety to environmental, economic, workforce and social sustainability
  • Roles and responsibilities of Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) and Health and Safety committees (HSCs)
  • Roles and responsibilities of workers, officers and Persons Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBUs)
  • Sources of WHS information both internal and external to the workplace, including Safe Work Australia and relevant state/territory regulators
  • Systems for identifying skill needs, for example:
  • identifying additional training needs of learners
  • performance reviews
  • training needs analysis
  • The difference between hazard and risk
  • The hierarchy of control and its application
  • Understanding the national Work Health and Safety model and relevant state/territory legislation that influence regulatory requirements relevant to the particular industry/type of work site
  • Workplace specific information including:
  • awards and enterprise agreements that impact on the particular workplace
  • designated person(s) for raising WHS issues
  • hazard identification procedures relevant to the hazards in their workplace
  • hazards of the particular work environment and how they cause harm
  • organisation procedures related to WHS including hazard, incident and injury reporting, hazard identification, risk assessment and control, consultation and participation, incident investigation, record keeping
  • the characteristics and composition of the workforce and how they may impact on the management of WHS
  • workplace support services e.g. employee assistance providers, workplace counselling and medical services
  • relevant WHS training and training providers

Essential skills:

It is critical that the candidate demonstrate the ability to

  • Manage WHS processes for a small organisation or group(s) of persons undertaking a range of work

In addition, the candidate must be able to effectively do the task outlined in elements and performance criteria of this unit, manage the task and manage contingencies in the context of the identified work role

This includes the ability to:

  • Apply an action planning process
  • Assimilate information from a range of sources to evaluate effectiveness of processes
  • Communicate with supervisors, other managers, staff, WHS inspectors and expert advisers in a range of contexts, and using a range of media and formats.
  • Conduct effective meetings
  • Develop solutions to complex WHS problems, utilising information from a range of sources
  • Relate to people from a range of social, cultural and ethnic backgrounds and physical and mental abilities
  • Support others to identify and access appropriate external support services such as medical, social and psychological support
  • Take into account and support staff to use opportunities to address waste minimisation, environmental responsibility and sustainable practice issues
  • Use language and literacy and conceptual skills to analyse and evaluate WHS information
  • Use technical skills to access WHS information

Evidence Guide

The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the Performance Criteria, Required Skills and Knowledge, the Range Statement and the Assessment Guidelines for this Training Package.

Critical aspects of assessment:

  • The individual being assessed must provide evidence of specified essential knowledge as well as skills
  • Evidence gathered by an assessor to determine competence will include:
  • written or verbal responses to scenarios and case studies
  • reports from persons who have been involved in the management processes
  • portfolio of workplace documents
  • Evidence of performance over time must be obtained to inform a judgement of competence

Products that could be used as evidence include:

  • Verbal and written responses to verbal, pictorial or physical scenarios
  • Demonstrated action to scenarios, simulations, role plays
  • Completed reports to senior managers
  • Written directions, emails, memos and other information provided to supervisors in area of responsibility
  • Reports from team leaders, senior managers, other managers, specialist advisors

Processes that could be used as evidence include:

  • How training needs were identified and addressed
  • How action plans are developed, monitored and updated
  • How hazard identification and risk assessment occur

Access and equity considerations:

  • All workers in the health industry should be aware of access and equity issues in relation to their own area of work
  • All workers should develop their ability to work in a culturally diverse environment
  • In recognition of particular health issues facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, workers should be aware of cultural, historical and current issues impacting on health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • Assessors and trainers must take into account relevant access and equity issues, in particular relating to factors impacting on health of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander clients and communities

Related units:

Assessment of this unit should address and build on the content of related unit:

  • HLTWHS300A Contribute to WHS processes

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. Add any 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.

WHS legislation varies in different states and will include:

  • National Work Health and Safety Model
  • Current relevant State/territory WHS legislation
  • Relevant state/territory Manual Handling Code of Conduct

Standards include:

Documents produced by national bodies, WHS 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 are:

Documents generally prepared to provide advice to employers and workers, of an acceptable way of achieving standards

Codes of practice/compliance codes may:

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

Guidance material:

Is an advisory technical document, providing detailed information for use by unions, officers, PCBUs, health and safety committee members and representatives, safety officers and others requiring guidance

Advises on ‘what to do’ and ‘how to do it’

Has no legal standing

Other sources of WHS information include

Persons, organisations and references where knowledge about WHS may be obtained

These sources may be:

Internal, including:

  • hazard, incident and investigation reports
  • workplace inspections
  • incident investigations
  • minutes of meetings
  • Job Safety Analyses (JSAs) and risk assessments
  • organisation data such as insurance records, enforcement notices and actions, workers compensation data, WHS performance data
  • reports and audits
  • Safety Data Sheet (SDS) and registers
  • employees handbooks
  • workers including questionnaire results
  • Health and Safety Representatives
  • manufacturers’ manuals and specifications

External, including:

  • Employee Assistance Program providers and workplace counselling services
  • relevant state WHS Acts, regulations, codes and guidance material
  • other relevant legislation
  • Safe Work Australia
  • State/territory regulatory bodies
  • databases such as national and state injury data
  • WHS specialists and consultants
  • newspapers and journals, trade/industry publications
  • internet sites
  • industry networks and associations including unions and employer groups
  • WHS professional bodies
  • specialist advisors
  • research information

WHS information includes:

  • Requirements under WHS legislation, regulations, standards, codes of practice/compliance codes and guidelines
  • Rights and responsibilities
  • Information on hazards including SDSs
  • Collated information on hazard incidents and injuries
  • Investigation and audit reports
  • Outcomes of hazard identifications and workplace inspections
  • Risk assessments
  • Risk controls
  • Workplace WHS policies and procedures
  • Work procedures
  • Training records

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

Legal requirements for record keeping include:

That specified under WHS legislation and regulations for:

  • Serious incident and injury reporting
  • Registered plant
  • Hazardous substances and dangerous goods
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Health surveillance
  • Privacy legislation.

WHS records may include:

  • Hazard, incident and investigation reports
  • Workplace inspection reports
  • Incident investigation reports
  • First aid records
  • Minutes of meetings
  • Job Safety Analyses (JSAs) and risk assessments
  • Safety Data Sheet (SDS) and registers
  • Plant and equipment operation records including those relevant to registered plant
  • Maintenance and testing reports
  • Training records
  • Environmental monitoring records
  • Health surveillance records

Participative processes include:

Processes that:

  • inform workers and other stakeholders of WHS matters
  • seek their input
  • offer opportunity for stakeholders to participate in decisions that may impact on their health and safety

Participative processes may also be referred to as ‘consultative processes’, however ‘participation’ implies a higher level of involvement

Organisation policies and procedures include:

Policies and procedures underpinning the management of WHS including:

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

Consultation includes processes for:

Seeking information or the opinions from one or more people prior to decision-making

Consultation should particularly include those who may affect the outcomes or be affected by the decisions made but may also include specialist sources

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

Incident includes:

Any event that has caused or has the potential for injury, ill health or damage

Hazard identification is:

The process of identifying sources of harm and may be required:

  • at design or pre purchase of equipment and materials
  • at commissioning or pre-implementation of new processes or practices
  • 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, buildings or materials


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

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

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

The ranking of ways control risks ranked from the highest level of protection and reliability to the lowest, including:

  • 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 advisors include:

Persons either internal or external to the organisation including:

  • safety professionals
  • ergonomists
  • employee assistance and workplace counselling services
  • occupational hygienists
  • audiologists
  • safety engineers
  • toxicologists
  • occupational health professionals
  • Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs)
  • Health and Safety committees (HSCs)

Other persons providing specific technical knowledge or expertise in areas related to WHS including:

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

WHS induction includes:

The processes by which new workers are introduced to, and acquainted with their job and the new workplace, including familiarisation with:

  • hazards and risks associated with the work,
  • risk control measures,
  • welfare facilities and
  • emergency response procedures

Stakeholders are:

Those people or organisations who may be affected by, or perceive themselves to be affected by an activity or decision including:

  • officers
  • PCBUs
  • Health and Safety representatives (HSRs)
  • Health and Safety committees (HSCs)
  • workers and contractors
  • the community

WHS action plans include:

Documented plans developed within the workplace to implement a systematic approach to WHS management and contain:

  • actions that support an integrated strategy to address deficiencies, meet obligations or provide for improved outcomes
  • allocated responsibilities
  • timeframes

Unit Sector(s)

Not applicable.