Duties under WHS Legislation
Each MOP(S) Act employee and person who volunteers in a parliamentarian’s workplace has duties as a Worker under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act).
Some MOP(S) Act employees may also have duties as an Officer under the WHS Act. Performing a designated WHS role does not make you an “officer” under the WHS Act.
Under the WHS Act you must:
- comply with any reasonable WHS policies, procedures or instructions that could affect health and safety within your workplace, such as reporting any workplace incidents or hazards.
- consider how your own activities and behaviour will affect people in your workplace both physically and psychologically.
Your duties under the WHS Act are limited by what you are reasonably able to do, taking into account the degree of control you have over your work activities and work environment.
MOP(S) Act employees who manage staff need to:
- stay informed of work health and safety issues that could affect the workplace
- identify risks and hazards in the workplace and ensure that there are systems in place to eliminate or minimise those risks and hazards
- become familiar with WHS information available on the M&PS website
- complete any online WHS training
- attend tailored training courses presented by Comcare; and
- continuously review WHS systems in your workplace to ensure that they are performing effectively
- ensure that any staff members performing a designated WHS role are meeting the requirements of that role.
- become familiar with risk factors within the workplace that could contribute to psychosocial injuries and eliminate or minimise those risks to the extent practicable
- consult with your Senator or Member and the relevant M&PS Advice and Support Director at the first signs of a risk to psychosocial health within the workplace.
- influence other workers to value health and safety, by changing unsafe work behaviours
- set clear expectations about the accepted safety standards in the workplace; and
- model health and safety at work at all times.
Designated WHS roles
To identify and effectively manage risks to work health and safety, some MOP(S) Act employees are nominated by their employing parliamentarian to be trained to perform designated WHS roles within the workplace
If you are a WHS Site Officer, a First Aid Officer or an Emergency Officer, you must:
- complete your training as soon as practicable
- fulfil the duties of your role, as set out in your duty statement and discussed during your training; and
- understand and meet all the reporting requirements of your role.
You can check which WHS Roles are required within your office on the M&PS website. Speak to your employing Senator or Member if there is no one carrying out these WHS roles in your office.
Rights as a Worker
Under the WHS Act:
- your Senator or Member and Finance are required to consult with you on matters affecting your health, safety and welfare at work.
- you may cease work if you have a reasonable concern that the work would expose you to a serious risk to health or safety, from immediate or imminent exposure to a hazard.
- you are not required to remain at any place that poses a serious risk to your health or safety. If you cease work due to a WHS issue, you must notify your employing parliamentarian and Finance as soon as practicable and you must remain available to carry out suitable alternative work.
WHS training, information and programs
The M&PS website contains:
- online training on a range of WHS topics
- a collection of WHS resources covering situations that you may encounter during MOP(S) Act employment
- WHS policies issued by Finance following consultation with parliamentarians and MOP(S) Act employees.
Raising WHS issues
Finance consults with elected Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) through the WHS Committee for MOP(S) Act employees.
You may raise WHS matters with Finance at any time through your elected HSRs, or by contacting the Staff Help Desk.
Information about the WHS Act and general work health and safety (WHS) advice is available from Comcare. Comcare provides detailed advice on the worker and officer duties in its Regulatory Guide Health and Safety Duties.