Work Health and Safety Foundations

This course will cover fundamental knowledge of WHS legislation.


Work Health and Safety

Intended Audience

Organisers and Campaigners

Delivery Mode



1 day




This course is designed for officials looking to learn the basics of work health and safety so they can confidently help build WHS structures in workplaces and effectively represent and organise workers harnessing both work, health and safety and industrial tools.

We will explore both current and historical union campaigns around health and safety in the workplace, and the subsequent impact of these campaigns on shaping legislation.

You will learn to critique theories of work health and safety through comparing a behaviour-based approach with a systems-based approach and how to apply a systems-based approach in practising risk assessments.

Finally, you will gain a clear vision of what a powerful, organised workplace looks like and how using WHS knowledge and tools can help you realise that vision in your workplaces. 


By the end of this course, you should be able to: 

  • Identify key rights for workers under WHS legislation 
  • Identify key health and safety opportunities for organising 
  • Describe the key components of a safe management system 
  • Apply the hierarchy of control to manage risk in the workplace 
  • Identify the value of having a WHS entry permit for organising 
  • Describe key WHS union campaigns, past and present, and their impact on WHS laws 
  • Develop the WHS structures needed to organise effectively around WHS 
  • Identify the powers HSRs have under the WHS legislation 


Introduction to WHS

Broad definition of WHS

History of WHS

Key WHS campaigns led by the union movement
Evolution of WHS legislation through these campaigns

Approaches to work health and safety

Behaviour-based versus systems-based

The health and safety framework

Key rights of workers under the legislation
Risk assessments
Hierarchy of hazard control

WHS entry permits

How WHS permits can be obtained and used in issue resolution

Building powerful, organised workplaces

Establishing WHS structures
Powers of HSRs
Identifying threats to building power
Case studies in organising drawing on WHS and industrial tools

Delivery Style

This course is designed to maximise interaction and active participation. Along with content delivery through PowerPoint slides, the course will rely heavily on teacher-led facilitated discussion, small group work and use of real case studies.



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Course Enrolment


8 May | 9:00am to 5:00pm

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10 September | 9:00am to 5:00pm

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21 November | 9:00am to 5:00pm

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