Infomations from

Lead upEdit

This guide provides an overview for the rural industry about the Queensland Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act) and the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (WHS Regulation). It is designed to help rural industry employers and workers understand their health and safety duties in the workplace. It should not be read in place of the details in the WHS Act, WHS Regulation or the codes of practice.

Nationally uniform laws were introduced to help ensure all workers in Australia have the same standard of health and safety protection. Nationally uniform work health and safety laws mean greater certainty and reduced compliance costs for employers, particularly those operating across state borders. More consultation between employers, workers, and their representatives, along with clearer responsibilities will make workplaces safer for everyone.


Person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) – a business or an undertaking that is either done alone or with others, whether or not for profit or gain. A PCBU can be a sole trader (for example a selfemployed person), a partnership, company, unincorporated association or government department or public authority (including a municipal council). An elected member of a municipal council acting in that capacity is not a PCBU.Worker – employees, contractors, subcontractors, outworkers, apprentices and trainees, work experience students, volunteers and PCBUs who are individuals if they perform work for the business.Officer – a person who makes, or participates in making decisions that affect the whole or substantial part of the organisation’s activities. Due diligence – emphasises the corporate governance responsibilities of officers. Officers of corporations and unincorporated bodies need to show that they have taken reasonable steps to: 

  • Acquire and update their knowledge of health and safety matters 
  • Understand the operations being carried out by the person conducting the business or undertaking in which they are employed, and the hazards and risks associated with the operations 
  • Ensure that the person conducting the business or undertaking has, and uses, appropriate resources and processes to eliminate or minimise health and safety risks arising from work being done 
  • Ensure that the person conducting the business or undertaking has appropriate processes in place to receive and respond promptly to information regarding incidents, hazards and risks 
  • Ensure that the person conducting the business or undertaking has,and uses, processes for complying with duties or obligations under the WHS Act. Reasonably practicable (section 18 of the WHS Act) – the guiding principle of the WHS Act is that all people are given the highest level of health and safety protection from hazards arising from work, so far as is reasonably practicable.The term ‘reasonably practicable’ means what could reasonably be done at a particular time to ensure health and safety measures were in place.Health and safety representative – a worker who has been elected by a work group to represent them on health and safety issues.

What’s new?Edit

  • Below is a summary of some of the new requirements relevant to the rural industry:
  • Reasonably practicable – refer to definition above
  • Due diligence – refer to definition above
  • Remote and isolated work – the risk associated with remote or isolated work must be managed, so that a worker is provided a system of work that includes effective communication.Guide for Queensland’s rural industry 5
  • Hazardous chemicals – the Dangerous Goods Safety Management Act 2001 has been repealed. There is now a requirement for notification to WHSQ if: 
  • A quantity of hazardous chemical handled, used or stored exceeds the prescribed Schedule 11 (WHS Regulation) manifest quantity
  • If a facility exceeds 10 per cent of a Schedule 15 (WHS Regulation) threshold quantity.
  • Asbestos – asbestos containing materials must be managed and an asbestos register is required for workplace buildings unless the building was constructed after 31 December 2003, and in which no asbestos has been identified at the workplace, and where asbestos is not likely to be present.
  • Tractors and roll over protective structures – there is a requirement for roll-over protective structures (ROPS) for all tractors, with some exemptions.
  • Confined spaces – the risks of confined spaces must be managed in accordance with the WHS Regulation. 
  • High risk work licences – high risk work licences are required to operate certain machinery and undertake certain tasks. The operation of forklifts is considered to be high risk work.
  • Managing the risk of musculoskeletal disorders associated with a hazardous manual task.
  • Managing the risks of falls and falling objects.

The legislationEdit

Work Health and Safety Act 2011

The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act) provides a nationally consistent framework to protect the health, safety and welfare of all workers at work and of all other people who might be affected by the work.The WHS Act outlines health and safety duties and rights in the workplace.Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 Anyone with duties under the WHS Act should refer to the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (WHS Regulation) and codes of practice. The WHS Regulation outlines how a duty under the WHS Act must be performed and prescribes procedural or administrative matters to support the WHS Act (e.g. licences for specific activities or the keeping of records).

Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 Anyone with duties under the WHS Act should refer to the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (WHS Regulation) and codes of practice. The WHS Regulation outlines how a duty under the WHS Act must be performed and prescribes procedural or administrative matters to support the WHS Act (e.g. licences for specific activities or the keeping of records).

Codes of practice The codes of practice provide practical guidance to assist duty holders to achieve the standards required under the WHS Act, and provide effective ways to identify and manage risks.Queensland has preserved a number of existing codes of practice which will continue to be recognised, and repealed others. There are also new codes of practice and that have been developed nationally and adopted in Queensland. 

OHS pyrimid

Transitional provisionsEdit

Transitional provisions have been introduced to allow industry sufficient time to adjust from the old laws to the new laws.For more information about the transitional provisions refer to the following documents: 

  • Transitional provisions at a glance: Work Health and Safety Act 2011
  • Transitional provisions for the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011
  • Asbestos transitional arrangements.

Incident notificationsEdit

Workplace incidents/procedures

The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act) and the Safety in Recreational Water Activities Act 2011 (SRWA Act) set out what sort of incidents are notifiable to Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ). An incident is notifiable if it arises out of the conduct of a business or undertaking and results in the death, serious injury or serious illness of a person or involves a dangerous incident.A PCBU is required to make the notification immediately after becoming aware that a notifiable incident arising from the business or undertaking has occurred.The person conducting a business of undertaking must keep a record of each notifiable incident for at least five years from the date notified to WHSQ.

  1. Relates to an injury to the skull. It does not relate to a bruise or minor abrasion or laceration to the skin.  It does include temporary or permanent amnesia (this may be established through assessment of memory of things prior to or after the incident) or loss of consciousness.
  2. An injury that involves an object penetrating the eye (e.g. metal fragment, wood chip), exposure of the eye to a substance for which the risk phrase of the relevant material safety data sheet or label states ‘risk of serious eye damage’, i.e., notification is not required where the risk phrase states ‘irritating to the eye’.

The WHS Act and the SRWA Act set out that a serious injury or illness of a person is:

  • An injury or illness requiring the person to have: immediate treatment as an in-patient in a hospital immediate treatment for: 

– the amputation of any part of his or her body

– a serious head injury

– a serious eye injury

– a serious burn

– the separation of his or her skin from an underlying tissue (such as degloving or scalping)

– a spinal injury

– the loss of a bodily function 

– serious lacerations

medical treatment is required (treatment by a doctor) within 48 hours of exposure to a substance 

Any infection to which the carrying out of work is a significant contributing factor, including any infection that is reliably attributable to carrying out work: 

with micro-organisms
that involves providing treatment or care to a person
that involves contact with human blood or body substances
that involves handling or contact with animals, animal hides, skins, wool or hair, animal carcasses or animal waste products.

3. A burn that requires more treatment than washing the wound, ice pack and a dressing. 4. An injury to the cervical, thoracic, lumbar or sacral vertebrae. It includes the associated soft tissues such as muscles, ligaments, discs and nerves (including the spinal cord). Of particular interest to WHSQ is if the injury is likely to result in the person having more than four consecutive days off work. 5. Is a laceration that requires immediate medical treatment (treatment by a doctor) for one or more deep and/or extensive cuts, tears of wounds to the flesh or tissues (this may include stitching to prevent loss of blood and/or other treatment to prevent loss of bodily function and/or infection).

the following occupational zoonoses contracted in the course of work involving the handling or contact with animals, animal hides, skins, wool or hair, animal carcasses or animal waste products:

  • Q fever
  • Anthrax
  • Leptospirosis
  • Brucellosis
  • Hendra virus
  • Avian influenza
  • Psittacosis.

What is a dangerous incident?Edit

A dangerous incident is an incident in relation to a workplace that exposes a worker or any other person to a serious risk to a person’s health or safety emanating from an immediate or imminent exposure to:

  • An uncontrolled escape, spillage or leakage of a substance
  • An uncontrolled implosion, explosion or fire
  • An uncontrolled escape of gas or steam
  • An uncontrolled escape of a pressurized substance
  • Electric shock
  • The fall or release from a height of any plant, substance or thing
  • The collapse, overturning, failure or malfunction of, or damage to,

any plant that is required to be authorized for use in accordance with the regulations

  • The collapse or partial collapse of a structure
  • The collapse or failure of an excavation or of any shoring supporting

an excavation

  • The inrush of water, mud or gas in workings, in an underground

excavation or tunnel

  • The interruption of the main system of ventilation in an underground

excavation or tunnel.

How do I notify?Edit

Notification must be by the fastest possible means. The options for notifying are:

By phoning 1300 369 915

By completing the online incident notification form at

By faxing the completed incident notification form to (07) 3247 0297

By emailing the completed incident notification form to .