Background to course development

With the commencement of Nationally harmonised work health and safety (WH&S) laws on 1 January 2012, the statutory requirement to appoint a WHSO was removed from the QLD Work Health and Safety Act despite it being recommended for inclusion into the harmonised laws through its overwhelming support from QLD employers and workers. Despite the removal of the statutory requirement to appoint a WHSO, research undertaken indicated that there is still a need within industry for the role of a WHSO or equivalent under the new harmonised legislation.

This course is an enhanced version of the original WHSO course, with competency assessments that meet the new requirements demanded from the Australian Skills Quality Authority. To reflect the harmonised legislation and role of a person who undertakes this course, the name Workplace Health and Safety Officer has been modified to Work Health Safety Advisor (WHSA).

It is expected that many businesses will voluntarily retain the WHSO/WHSA role to assist them in complying with their duties under the new model laws. In particular, the Work Health and Safety laws impose a specific duty on officers of corporations and unincorporated bodies to exercise due diligence to ensure that the organisation meets its work health and safety obligations. This requires officers to be proactive in ensuring that the organisation complies with its duties. WHSAs are employed to provide information on hazards and risks associated with the workplace or work activities. Workplace Health and Safety QLD (WHSQ) has stated that they see advantages for an organisation in retaining a trained safety advisor to assist an officer to satisfy their ‘due diligence’ obligations.

This course would enable the learners to attain competencies and knowledge of the new legislative requirements and work health and safety practices enabling the WHSA to provide advice and assist with the management of work health and safety within an organisation.

Cert IV/Diploma WHS versus WHSA

The Cert IV/ Diploma OHS are qualifications which allow a person to become a “practitioner” in WHS. A degree or Graduate Diploma in a WHS discipline is required to become registered with the professional body as a “professional”. The WHSA course is designed to support the legislative knowledge of both the WHS practitioner and professional covering material that is not covered in other Units of competency or qualifications. This difference was clearly demonstrated in the submission of the course concept proposal to ASQA  where it was required to demonstrate that the course content does not duplicate material of other already approved courses.


The course provides the learner with the skills and competencies to:


The Work Health and Safety Advisors course consists of four modules. The modules are as follows:

Module 1, known as the Core Module is conducted over five days and covers legislation and topics relevant to all industry sectors. To complete the WHSA certificate the participant must then complete the relevant module corresponding to their industry group. This is commonly referred to as the elective Module.

Industry electives

The Industry Elective WHSA course attended would depend on the predominant activity of the particular workplace (e.g. either industrial, service or construction). Where the predominant activity is say construction related, the construction elective should be pursued.

It is recognised that the management of a particular workplace would be in the best position to analyse and determine the nature of the predominant activity carried out at that workplace. Management should therefore be responsible for nominating the most appropriate course for the WHSA.

In some cases where multiple activities are conducted, then the WHSA can complete additional modules. Given the need for both Industrial/Construction Modules, DRA Safety Specialists have been able to develop a course over 5 days that provides the dual qualification.

The applicant must successfully complete the core module and at least one industry elective module to receive the WHSA Certificate of Attainment.

This certificate is valid for a period of 5 years from the date of completion of the elective module. At the end of 5 years the WHSA must then attend a Refresher course to ensure current knowledge of legislative changes that have occurred over that period.

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Safety Direct

This product is membership based and provides a vehicle to share documents in order to achieve best practice in terms of safety thus reducing injuries.

For more information Phone 07 5573 6199 OR

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