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WHS management systems

WHS management systems

All good businesses recognise that a safe workplace is essential to their success and long-term survival.

However, there is more to an effective WHS system than just having various policies and procedures dealing with different issues around the workplace.

For the system to be truly efficient and fully compliant with WHS legislation, it needs to be integrated into all of the company’s activities, and managed in a systematic way.

This is where a WHS management system (WHSMS) comes into play. A WHSMS is the overarching system that coordinates all of the safety policies and procedures in the company, and allows management to monitor the performance of the different elements.

It also provides the company with a means for documenting its efforts in dealing with WHS issues. This not only helps it to satisfy workers compensation and other WHS legislation, it also gives the company a sound picture of how well everything is working, which helps management to make good quality decisions about the future.

A WHSMS includes all of the steps taken to ensure that the company provides its employees with a safe place to work. This includes the training programs delivered, safety procedures implemented, audits and inspections carried out, new equipment purchased, existing equipment upgraded, reviews undertaken, and so on.

Below are the names and descriptions of typical documents that a company might keep in its WHSMS:

Registers and log books

  • Injuries Register: recording all workplace injuries sustained by employees

  • Lifting Gear Register: listing all slings, chains and other lifting gear used on site

  • Hazardous Substances Register: listing all hazardous substances kept on site

  • Plant and Equipment Register: showing the servicing and maintenance schedule for all machines

  • Safety Hazard Log: used by employees to record potential safety hazards

Workplace safety inspections

  • Site Inspection Checklist: used at regular intervals to identify hazards around the site

  • Forklift Pre-start Inspection Checklist: completed by the forklift driver each day

  • Delivery Truck Pre-start Inspection Checklist: completed by the truck driver each day

Minutes of meetings

  • Toolbox Minutes: recorded by the supervisor at the regular Toolbox meetings

  • Safety Committee Minutes: recorded by the secretary at the regular safety committee meetings

Training documents

  • Training needs analysis: showing the areas where training is needed

  • Training Skills Matrix: showing the current skills and proposed training for each employee

  • Assessment instruments: completed by workplace assessor to verify the competency of employees

SOPs and SDSs

  • Safe Operating Procedures: showing the safe operating procedures for workplace machines and processes

  • Safety Data Sheets: showing the properties and correct handling procedures for all hazardous substances kept on site

Risk assessments and reports

  • Incident Report: completed after an incident involving property damage or injury

  • Risk Management Assessment: completed by the Safety Committee

  • New Equipment Risk Assessment: completed prior to commissioning a new machine

  • Safe Work Method Statements: completed by subcontractors or other staff involved in installations or other forms of new work

Return to Work documents

  • Return to Work Plan: for injured workers returning to work on ‘suitable duties’


  • Contractor Insurance Form: completed by contractors prior to carrying out work

  • Hot Work Permit: completed by tradespersons before undertaking hot works, such as welding

  • Workers Compensation Claim Form: completed by injured workers when lodging workers compensation claims

  • WorkSafe Accident Report Form: for reporting serious accidents or incidents

Safety induction manuals

  • Induction Manual for Employees: issued to new employees at the commencement of their employment

  • Induction Manual for subcontractors: issued to contract tradespersons who come on-site

Policies and procedures manuals

  • WHSMS Policies and Procedures Manual: setting out the company’s Work Health and Safety Management System Policies and Procedures

  • Emergency Procedures Manual: setting out the procedures for dealing with emergencies