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Work Health & Safety Management Systems and Auditing Guidelines that you should know about



Work Health & Safety Management Systems

The Work Health and Safety Management Systems (WH&SMS) and Auditing Guidelines Edition 5, which were published in 2013 and updated in 2014, are an earlier version of the Work Health & Safety Management (WH&SM) Guidelines Edition 6, released in December of 2019 by the NSW Government as a key element of their Procurement Policy Framework.

They were developed to support NSW Government agencies in establishing a uniform minimum safety standard for construction work, with the aim of improving safety outcomes for all construction industry participants across all NSW government construction and infrastructure projects, whether they are financed by the public or private sector. These guidelines are specific to construction procurement and must be complied with by any construction industry organisation wanting to tender for NSW government construction and infrastructure projects worth $1M or more.

The guidelines are in line with the International Organization for Standardization’s (ISO) Occupational health and safety standard AS/NZS ISO 45001:2018 (ISO 45001 certification) and should be used, where applicable, in concurrence with Quality and Environmental guidelines when planning and implementing WH&SMS and during the preparation of WH&S Management Plans (WH&SMP).

1-Application Guidelines

Contractors tendering with the NSW Government for construction contracts valued at up to $1M, must be able to demonstrate that they are capable of developing and implementing an acceptable WH&SMP by submitting a WH&SMP draft before work begins. Those tendering for contracts valued at over $1M are subject to the same requirement, however, they must also possess an ISO 45001 certified WH&SMS.

2-Specifying requirements

NSW Government agencies must clearly articulate in their request for tender and tender documentation the specific requirements of their project in terms of WH&SM and the scope of their auditing and monitoring activities. Agencies may also include any additional stipulations in their contract with the contractor and other interested parties.

3-WHS Management System Guidelines

Compliance: Contractors’ WH&SMS must be compliant with ISO 45001 standards and should include procedures aimed at ensuring and maintaining compliance with all applicable State and Federal WH&S regulatory laws. For projects valued at over $1M, WH&SMS must be certified by JAS-ANZ.

Evidence of acceptability: To demonstrate the acceptability of their WH&SMS contractors must produce documented proof confirming its certification by JAS-ANZ. Additional evidence of acceptability is required from contractors who have had WH&S legal actions brought against them (resulting in prosecution) or who have been subject to penalties in the past three years. Corrective action documentation and proof of system modification are both acceptable evidence for demonstrating that system deficiencies were addressed.

Revocation of acceptance: Agencies may, at any time throughout the contract period, revoke the contractor’s acceptance if they deem that their WH&SMS is no longer compliant or due to recurring safety violations. They will however give the contractor a chance to comment on the situation and will give ample consideration to their explanation before making a decision. If they end up withdrawing acceptance, the contractor’s work will be interrupted until all non-conformances are addressed.

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4-WH&S Management Plan Guidelines

Compliance: The WH&SMP’s role is to detail how key WH&SMS elements, including Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS), will be implemented by the contractor throughout the entire project lifecycle. Principal contractors for projects valued at over $1M must also demonstrate how their WH&SMS procedures apply to the additional responsibilities associated with the status of principal contractor.

Contractors and their service providers should work together to identify and document any high-risk work, as well as competency, training, and licence requirements and put in place adequate control measures.

Contractors must also put in place control procedures for the use of products and work practices that do not comply with WH&S requirements and for properly addressing WH&S issues through corrective action and workplace injury management procedures.

Evaluation criteria: As part of the tender evaluation process, contractors’ WH&SM capabilities are assessed against a number of criteria, including:

  • WH&SMS certification status
  • How WH&S was managed in a present or recent comparable project
  • The existence of a present or past prosecution associated with WH&S performance
  • An evaluation of a previous WH&SMP

5-Documents and records

Agencies are required to retain contractor WH&S performance records consisting of WH&SMS and WH&SMP performance reports, WH&SMP review reports, as well as comments made by contractors in response to the results of their review and performance assessments. Contractors are also required to retain and maintain a wide range of records and documents, including:

  • WHSMPs
  • Safe work procedures
  • SWMS, including high risk construction work as defined in the WHS Regulation (2017)
  • Emergency procedures
  • First aid treatment records
  • Incident and illness/injury reports
  • Work permits and training records
  • Hazard identification and risk assessments
  • Audit reports
  • Safety equipment records
  • Safety Data Sheets
  • Hazardous chemicals records
  • Plant and equipment records
  • Inspection, testing and servicing records
  • Internal review reports
  • Details of qualifications held by individuals
  • Minutes of workplace WHS meetings and toolbox talks
  • Injury and workers’ compensation management records.
  • WHS design review records

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