Meet the Regulators: Workplace Health and Safety Queensland

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) is the peak authority for OHS regulations in Queensland. Although other statutory bodies play a role in Queensland health and safety, WHSQ is the main regulator and is responsible for the enforcement of OHS laws and compliance. To work in Queensland within the current framework of occupational health and safety legislation as outlined by Safe Work Australia, you need to understand who WHSQ is, what its role entails, and the extent of its legal reach.

Let’s start off with ‘the who’ and WHSQ is part of the Department of Justice and Attorney-General. WHSQ is governed by the work health and safety board, which is comprised of 11 members from employer, employee and industry groups. The board, in conjunction with the industry sector standing committee, provide Workplace Health and Safety Queensland with advice for issues in:

• Construction
• Manufacturing
• Rural
• Community
• Health services
• Retail
• Wholesale
• Hospitality
• Recreation
• Transport
• Storage

Queensland safety legislation is based on the model framework from Safe Work Australia but its role goes beyond basic workplace regulations. On top of licensing and registrations for high risk work and OHS training, WHSQ also reviews the Work Health and Safety Act, makes policy recommendations to the Attorney-General and conducts routine workplace inspections. The regulatory role of WHSQ includes a wide range compliance and enforcement options. These include:
• Issuing advice, information and infringement notices
• On the spot fines
• Seizure of equipment or substances
• Suspension of license or accreditation
• Enforceable undertakings (legally binding agreements)
• Prosecutions
• Workplace interventions and audits

Understanding the scale of WHSQ’s powers will ensure you don’t receive any penalties or worse. But ultimately the only way to ensure the health and safety of your workers while remaining compliant with OHS policy is by implementing a modern, software based risk assessment process.

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