Senior executives are classified as officers under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act) and the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017 (WHS Regulation).  As such you must:

  • comply with laws to ensure the health and safety of workers - the WHS Act holds you personally liable for ensuring your business complies with its duties.
  • exercise due diligence - you cannot delegate this duty.

Exercising due diligence requires you to:

  • acquire and keep up to date with safety knowledge
  • understand business health and safety risks
  • provide appropriate resources to identify and control risks
  • consider and monitor hazards and risks as they arise
  • review incidents to identify insufficient controls
  • respond in a timely manner to hazards, risks and incidents, and communicate work health and safety messages
  • ensure relevant policies, processes and resources are regularly reviewed, independently audited and are consistent with the minimum compliance standards
  • demonstrate leadership and personal responsibility.

Think safety.  Plan safety.  Act safely.  Review safety.  Make safety part of your everyday business activities.

Healthy, safe and productive working lives

The Work health and safety roadmap for NSW 2022 is a six-year strategy that aims to protect workers from harm, reduce unnecessary compliance costs and secure safety standards in NSW workplaces.

As a senior executive, you are responsible for two of the three action areas within the roadmap:

Action Area 1: Embed a health and safety landscape

You are critical to embedding a health and safety landscape within your agency, division or branch. The landscape consists of:

  • consultation and communication
  • committed leadership from the top
  • good safety practices
  • a safe physical and mental environment supported by safe supply chains
  • skilled workers who look out for each other.

All of these elements combine to create good health, safety and productivity outcomes for your workplace.

Action Area 2: Prioritise sectors, harms, workers and workplaces where the most significant risks exist

The NSW Government Sector Plan is an integral part of the roadmap, setting out a key goal for each one of the roadmap's action areas. Each goal is supported by a range of strategic objectives that each agency in the sector should adopt.

As a senior executive, you are responsible for how your agency, division or branch defines and implements your own initiatives for meeting the goals and strategic objectives within the sector plan. Your performance management plan should include the targets and key performance indicators for these goals and strategic objectives.

Prevent and manage unreasonable behaviour and bullying

As a senior executive, you have an obligation to create and maintain a positive workplace environment. The NSW Public Service Commission's Respect. Reflect. Reset campaign provides government employees with a range of resources to help them  prevent, identify and respond to workplace bullying. The Positive and Productive Workplaces Guideline explains how to create and maintain positive and productive work environments.

Preventing bullying is a legislative duty under the WHS Act and WHS Regulation. You must take a risk based approach applies to managing bullying; pursue prevention as the preferred strategy; and have in place clear processes for managing and minimising the impact of any risk that does eventuate.