Policy WHS-PRO-001 WHS Responsibilities Procedure

WHS-PRO-001 WHS Responsibilities Procedure

Print Friendly and PDFPrint Friendly


To define the work health and safety responsibility for all roles at all levels within James Cook University (JCU).

To enable all persons to comply with their work health and safety legal obligations which are endorsed by JCU’s Work, Health and Safety Policy


This Procedure applies to all staff, students, contractors and affiliates involved in JCU business operations and activities.





Is a person (other than a Staff member or Student, including Higher Degree by Research Candidates) who is affiliated with JCU by letter of appointment or invitation to work, research or study at the University for a particular activity and typically for a prescribed timeframe and who is bound to comply with the University’s policies during that period (e.g. visiting scholars, adjuncts and volunteers).

Health and Safety Representative

A Worker who has been elected by a work group to represent them on health and safety issues.


A person who makes decisions, or participates in making decisions that affect the whole or a substantial part of a business or undertaking or has the capacity to significantly affect the financial standing of the business or undertaking.

If a person is responsible only for implementing those decisions, they are not considered an Officer under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld).

Holders of the following JCU positions are considered Officers:

  1. Members of Council
  2. University Executive, Directors and Deans


Visitors to a JCU controlled property or worksites.

Reasonably Practicable

Means that which is, or was at a particular time, reasonably able to be done to ensure health and safety, taking into account and weighing up all relevant matters including:

  • The likelihood of the hazard or the risk concerned occurring
  • The degree of harm that might result from the hazard or the risk
  • What the person concerned knows, or ought reasonably to know, about the hazard or risk, and ways of eliminating or minimising the risk
  • The availability and suitability of ways to eliminate or minimise the risk
  • After assessing the extent of the risk and the available ways of eliminating or minimising the risk, the cost associated with available ways of eliminating or minimising the risk, including whether the cost is grossly disproportionate to the risk.


Any person who is responsible for Workers, the allocation of tasks to Workers and / or the oversight of all JCU students during teaching and / or learning activities including field trips.


A person who carries out work in any capacity for JCU, and includes working as:

  • An employee
  • A volunteer
  • An apprentice or trainee
  • A student gaining work experience (paid or unpaid)
  • A contractor or subcontractor and their employees
  • Labour hire company employees assigned to work for JCU.


A workplace is the place where work is carried out for JCU and includes any place where a Worker goes, or is likely to be, while at work.

1      Duty, Obligations and Responsibilities

Duties for work health and safety are legislated in the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld) (the Act).

The Act details the duties of a ‘person conducting a business or undertaking’ (PCBU), Officers, Workers and other persons.

The following principles apply to all duties that persons have under the Act;

  • A duty is not transferable
  • A person may have more than one duty
  • More than one person can have the same duty
  • A duty imposed on a person to ensure health and safety requires the person to manage risks so that they are eliminated so far as is Reasonably Practicable or, if elimination is not possible, are or minimised so far as is Reasonably Practicable.

1.1 James Cook University

As a PCBU under the Act, JCU has a primary duty of care to ensure Workers and Others are not exposed to a risk to their health and safety.

Without limiting the above statement, JCU owes a primary duty of care when it;

  • Engages or causes to engage a Worker
  • Influences or directs the work carried out by a Worker
  • Has management or control of a Workplace.

JCU must meet its obligations, so far as is reasonably practicable, to provide a safe and healthy Workplace for Workers and Others by ensuring:

  • Safe systems of work are in place
  • A safe work environment is provided
  • The provision and maintenance of safe plant and structures
  • The safe use, handling and storage of plant, structures and substances
  • Adequate facilities for the welfare of Workers are provided
  • Adequate information, training, instruction and supervision is provided
  • If accommodation is provided, it is maintained to not expose occupant Workers to risks to health and safety
  • That effective systems are in place for monitoring the health of Workers and workplace conditions
  • That the notification and recording of workplace incidents is implemented.

JCU must also have meaningful and open consultation about work health and safety with its Workers, Health and Safety Representatives and health and safety committees.

JCU must consult, cooperate and coordinate with other PCBU’s with whom it shares duties.

JCU will also have further duties under the Act if it is involved in specific kinds of activities such as;

  • The management and control of Workplaces, fixtures, fittings or plant at a Workplace
  • The design, manufacture, import or supply of plant, substances or structures
  • The installation, construction or commissioning of plant or structures.

1.2    Officers

It is an Officer’s duty to exercise due diligence to ensure the PCBU fulfils its health and safety obligations under the Act.

In exercising that due diligence, Officers must take reasonable steps to:

  • Acquire and keep up-to-date knowledge of work health and safety matters
  • Gain an understanding of the operations of the business and the hazards and risks involved
  • Ensure appropriate resources and processes are provided to enable hazards to be identified and risks to be eliminated or minimised
  • Confirm information regarding incidents, hazards and risks is received and the information is responded to in a timely way
  • Ensure the PCBU has, and implements, processes for complying with any legal duty or obligation
  • Ensure these resources and processes are verified, monitored and reviewed.

1.3   Senior Officers

Senior Officers are defined under the Act as the holder of an executive position (however described) in relation to the person who makes, or takes part in making, decisions affecting all, or a substantial part, of a person’s functions. This term is used when establishing offences under “industrial manslaughter”. A Senior Officer meets their obligations by exercising due diligence in the same way as Officers.

1.4    Workers and Others

Workers and Others, must take the following actions while at JCU controlled premises:

  • Take reasonable care for their own health and safety
  • Take reasonable care that his / her acts or omissions do not adversely affect the health and safety of other persons
  • Comply with any reasonable instruction from JCU
  • Comply with all applicable JCU Policies and Procedures.

1.5  Specific Work Health and Safety Responsibilities

JCU role specific work health and safety responsibilities are documented in Appendix 1:  Work Health and Safety Responsibilities  of this Procedure.

Further detail on work health and safety responsibilities, must be outlined in Position Descriptions, Policies, Procedures, and other health safety management system documentation where appropriate.

2   Requirements

2.1 Documenting Responsibilities

Specific work health and safety responsibilities are outlined throughout the Health and Safety Management System (HSMS) documentation.

Work health and safety expectations must also be specified in all JCU Position Descriptions.  Performance against the work health and safety responsibilities is assessed and managed during the individual performance development planning process.

Related policy instruments

Work Health and Safety Policy

AS/NZS 45001:2018 Requirements with guidance for use - Occupational health and safety management systems

Queensland First Aid in the Workplace Code of Practice 2014

Work Health and Safety Act 2011

Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland


Appendix 1: Work Health and Safety Responsibilities


NOTE:  Printed copies of this procedure are uncontrolled, and currency can only be assured at the time of printing.

Approval Details

Policy Sponsor

DVC Services and Resources

Version no


Date for next Major Review


Revision History


Approval date

Implementation date






Review and amendment to clarify duties, responsibilities and obligations. Title of Procedure changed from HSE-PRO-008 Responsibilities Procedure.

Manager, Work Health and Safety




Changes made to reflect headline restructure 30/04/2018

Quality, Standards and Policy




Procedure established

Vicki Young, HSE Project Officer


WHS responsibilities, due diligence, duty of care, Health and Safety Management System, HSMS