WHS guide for Builders

This Work health and Safety (WHS) guide is for builders who are looking for a starting point to comply with the new Work Health and Safety regulations, not only to enhance safety on your work site, but also to reduce the risk of receiving an on-the-spot-fine or prosecuted by the SafeWork inspectors.

Complying with the WHS regulations will require some of your time, to gain an understanding of the regulations, and then to perform the tasks required so you act within the law.
Tip: If you use SiteBook, you will save yourself a heap of time!

1. Read the Guide to Managing Safety in housing and Construction.

The regulations state that you need to “Acquire and keep up to date with OHS matters“, so as a minimum you should read
Your Guide to Managing Safety in Housing and Construction.
It is an excellent overview adapted from a publication by WorkSafe Tasmania, bearing in mind that the new laws are almost identical in NSW, QLD, SA, TAS, ACT, and the NT.

This is the best guide that I have seen, and is OK bed-time reading! (better than reading the regulations).


2. Understand the meaning of High Risk Construction Work.

You need to understand the definition of “High Risk Construction Work” because you need to :

  • Give your workers “Safe Work Method Statements” (SWMS or JSA’s) for each job that involves high risk construction work, and
  • You need to collect SWMS from any subcontractors who perform high risk work on your work site.

You can find the definition of high risk construction work here.


3. Prepare a WHS Management Plan for each work site.

If you use SiteBook, then a WHS plan will be generated automatically from a template. Just check and update it to suit your Site.
You must prepare a WHS Management Plan for each work site when the value of the project is over $250K. But we recommend that you do this for all sites where you engage subcontractors to cover yourself.


4. Prepare your Safe Work Method Statements.

Note: You only need to do this step if you, or any of your employees, perform high risk construction work.

Once you understand the definition of High Risk Construction Work (above) then you can prepare SWMS for that work and then give the SWMS to your workers who perform that work. To prepare the documents you can either:

    • Get a WHS consultant to do this for you, or
    • Do it yourself.

If you want to do it yourself then you could search forsome templates on the internet then download and modify them to suit your situation. (e.g. search on Google for “Safe work method statements builder”).

There is a template for Safe Work Method Statements here, and a sample filled in here.

5. Fill in a WHS Check List for each work site.

To ensure the safety of all workers on your Site and to cover yourself, you should fill in a “WHS Check List” for each work Site, so that you are not missing any parts of the WHS jigsaw! There is comprehensive template in SiteBook that you can modify to suit your situation, or you can see a cut down version of it here.

Disclaimer: this information is provided as a general guide only. We strongly recommend that you engage a Work Health and Safety consultant advice on the documents, processes and procedures to suit your specific business situation.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.