Welcome to the second edition of DHA's contractor work health and safety (WHS) newsletter. This edition will provide you with information on:
- DHA's statement of commitment to work health, safety and wellbeing
- changes made to DHA's contractor WHS survey - Managing a safe and healthy workplace.
- the process DHA follows in reviewing the evidence submitted by contractors in completing a WHS survey (a WHS Review)
- the requirement for a contractor to declare that work undertaken on behalf of DHA was completed in a safe and compliant manner (declaration made when invoicing through Online Services), and
- an update to the contractor induction module.
Statement of commitment
DHA is committed to providing and maintaining a safe and healthy work environment for our people—workers, visitors to our workplace and those who have the potential to be affected by our activities. Our goal is to ensure, as far as reasonably practicable, there is no harm to anyone at any time while working at DHA. DHA workers include DHA employees, contractors and contractors' workers.
DHA and its workers must maintain a safe and healthy work environment to prevent injuries/illness and to enhance physical and psychosocial wellbeing of workers. We are committed to consultation, coordination and cooperation to deliver safe programs and services.
As a contractor, you are a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) under state/territory WHS legislation. As a PCBU we encourage you to review DHA's Statement of commitment and consider making a similar commitment to work health and safety in your documentation and/or processes.
Guidance to complete a WHS survey
Prior to commencing work for DHA, all contractors must complete a WHS survey - Managing a safe and healthy workplace and provide evidence as requested in the survey. The current WHS survey may be accessed here. To help contractors complete the WHS survey, guidance information is now available for reference purposes see Contractor WHS survey - Guidance to complete a WHS survey.
The guidance information will also help contractors who are required to complete a WHS survey every 18 months through their Online Services account.
If you have any questions in relation to completing a WHS survey please email DHA WHS at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that DHA is not able to provide technical WHS advice in relation to safety and risk management. Technical advice is available through your State/Territory WHS regulator, see Safe Work Australia's webpage that provides links to all WHS regulator websites.
What is a WHS review?
A WHS review is the process by which DHA conducts an assessment of the safety and risk management evidence provided by a contractor for the scope of work being undertaken on behalf of DHA. The evidence is provided when completing a WHS survey.
In completing a WHS review, DHA considers how a contractor (as a PCBU) will support DHA to fulfil its WHS obligations and how the contractor's safety and risk management evidence assures the contractor (as a PCBU) will fulfil their WHS obligations with reference to the scope of work to be undertaken on behalf of DHA. DHA may consult with contractors to clarify aspects of the evidence submitted for review.
Why are WHS reviews completed?
As an Australian Government Business Enterprise (AGBE), DHA is required to adhere to the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Cth) (WHS Act). As part of this requirement DHA must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of all workers undertaking work on behalf of DHA – and that the work of DHA workers does not affect the health and safety of others in the workplace. A DHA workplace is anywhere a worker is engaged to work on behalf of DHA and includes, construction, development and/or heritage sites, DHA managed properties, and/or DHA offices.
A review of a contractor's safety and risk management evidence will provide DHA with a reasonable level of assurance that a contractor (as a worker and PCBU) will work in a safe and compliant manner for the scope of work being undertaken on behalf of DHA. A WHS review process verifies a contractor's capacity and capability to work in a safe and compliant manner.
Comcare (Commonwealth WHS regulator) instruct Commonwealth entities (including AGBEs) to verify that contractors have appropriate evidence to ensure both DHA and the contractor (As a PCBU) fulfil their respective and concurrent WHS duties.
Identified frequently asked questions for completing WHS reviews
What do I need to include in my policy?
Generally speaking, DHA cannot inform contractors of specific information, however, the following key focus areas should be considered:
- Is the policy current? i.e. addressing current legislation, signed and dated and COVID-19 management plans
- Consultation processes (both incident notification and how workers are consulted on issues)
- Emergency plans/policies
My business conducts high risk works what further documentation should I provide?
When assessing high risk works DHA must see evidence of previously implemented practices. Some examples of evidence are:
- SWMS for recently completed high risk DHA works
- Evidence of relevant licenses/permits to engage in high risk works
- Control methods which match the Codes of Practice for your State and/or Territory
What should I include in a training matrix/register and why are they necessary?
Employers have a responsibility to provide instruction and training, such as a training matrix/register is a method used to plan and track employee training skills/qualifications linked to specific scopes of work. Refer to the Guidance to complete a WHS Survey for more information.
A training register should include the workers names, course name, date of attendance, training provider name, accreditation certificate number and expiry date (if applicable).
Where can I locate the COVID-19 controls I should be using?
Government Health websites for each state and territory should include the control methods businesses should be applying to prevent employees contracting the virus and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Why does the documentation need to be recent and signed?
DHA request recently completed documentation to confirm that:
- All workers have been consulted regarding identified hazards/risks and their controls; and
- Senior management ensure that the safe management systems are being adhered to at DHA sites.
Contractor induction module
DHA has revised the contractor induction module. The revised version will be accessible via DHA's internet in the first instance. Further work will be completed by DHA to make the revised version accessible through Online Services (we will let you know when this change is effective). DHA has changed the requirement for completion of the contractor induction module, from all workers to one person from the contracting business entity (PCBU) to complete the induction. This person may be a director or WHS manager/contact. DHA has made this change in requirement in recognition that each PCBU is obliged under applicable State/Territory WHS legislation to ensure all workers are inducted/trained. DHA will review each contractor's WHS Review evidence to ensure appropriate induction and training is being provided to workers in compliance with applicable State/Territory WHS legislation.
Changes to work, health and safety reporting
To ensure DHA and its contractors comply with duties associated with managing WHS hazards/risks in the workplace, as of Friday 11 March 2022 the following changes will be present in your Online Service portal:
- When an MITM is allocated, the work details document will confirm the requirement to work in a safe and compliant manner, and to report all workplace incidents to DHA.
- When processing an invoice, you will be required to complete a series of Yes/No questions relating to WHS issues identified while completing the work(s).
- Should any WHS issues be identified, you will be prompted to complete three free text fields for ‘Issue’, ‘Actions Taken’ and ‘Further Recommended Action.’
- On completion of the invoicing process, a declaration must be made to confirm the work undertaken was completed in a safe and compliant manner, and workplace incidents were reported to DHA. This declaration will be in the form of a mandatory check box.
DHA is obliged to ensure all work undertaken by its contractors is completed in a safe and compliant manner. DHA as a Commonwealth entity must comply with the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Cth). Each contractor is obliged to comply with the State/Territory WHS legislation applicable to the location in which they operate.
Thank you for your contribution to assuring the DHA workplace, your workplace, is as safe as it is reasonably practicable to be.If you have questions related to this change, please contact email@example.com
Be informed: Silica dust
Silica dust has been known to cause serious illness to workers in a short amount of time with the issue hitting the news on many occasions over recent times. The on-site installation of engineered stone is considered high risk construction work if the processes used to install, modify or repair the engineered stone such as, cutting, grinding, trimming, drilling, sanding, or polishing generate silica dust and contaminate the work area. As a high risk construction activity a Safe Work Method Statement for work in a contaminated atmosphere must be in place that identifies the risk and places proper controls in place. For advice on Silica head over to Safe Work Australia to view the Model Code of Practice: Managing the risks of respirable crystalline silica from engineered stone in the workplace
Silica is found in many common construction products, apart from the more obvious engineered products like kitchen benchtops, silica is also in products such as bricks and roof tile pointing; check the product safety data sheet for silica content and manage the risk.
SafeWork NSW is holding an industry webinar on the 28 March 2022. We encourage you to attend to learn about this serious risk to the health of workers. Head over to Managing the risks of respirable crystalline silica from engineered stone in the workplace | SafeWork NSW to find a link to the webinar and also a practical risk management tool for offsite silica dust control.
To consult further please email firstname.lastname@example.org.