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Work Health and Safety Corporate Policy and Procedures

Policy Scope

Councils of Synod: Personnel as defined in A Foreword - Workplace Policies & Procedures.
Congregations Congregations are encouraged to adopt and adapt this policy for their work environments.

Policy Statement

Uniting Church SA (UCSA) values people and is committed to providing and maintaining a safe, healthy and productive workplace for workers and other persons involved in our activities.

Our safe workplace will be achieved in accordance with the Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act 2012 (SA) (WHS Act).

Policy Scope

This policy is intended to guide organisational compliance with the WHS Act at the following sites; 212 Pirie Street, Uniting College for Leadership & Theology (UCLT), Uniting Venues and United Aboriginal & Indigenous Christian Congress and includes wherever workers from each of those sites are required to conduct work on behalf of UCSA.

The scope of this policy is intended to include UCSA Presbytery and Synod sites including, but not restricted to, church owned premises, buildings and contents, equipment and vehicles.

This policy is not intended to guide WHS compliance in church congregations. Responsibility for monitoring compliance with WHS legislation in congregations rests with the respective Church Councils. 



Through this policy UCSA is committed to ensuring, as far as is reasonably practicable, that all workers and other persons are protected from physical and psychological injury and uncontrolled risk to their safety and health whilst conducting work on behalf of UCSA. Officers of UCSA recognise that the health, safety and welfare of workers and other persons is its primary duty of care and all other operational or logistical priorities are subordinate to it.

Policy Application

A safe, healthy and productive workplace will be achieved by striving to continually improve our safety management systems and practices in order to comply with the WHS Act. As far as reasonable practicable, UCSA will provide the following:

  • A safe, healthy and productive workplace
  • Safe systems of work
  • Machinery, equipment, facilities and substances that are fit for purpose and without uncontrolled risk to workers
  • Information, instruction, training and supervision appropriate to their work, necessary to ensure that workers and other persons are protected from injury and uncontrolled risks to their health
  • Effective consultation with relevant workers and duty holders on issues that directly affect their health and safety at work
  • Reporting of all workplace safety incidents, injuries and illnesses including statutory reporting to the WHS Regulator
  • Recording, and where appropriate, investigation of workplace safety incidents,
  • Effective rehabilitation measures for personnel who suffer work-related injuries and/or illness

UCSA acknowledges the need to manage work health and safety through an effective safety management system that will be developed and implemented using the following strategies:

  • Conducting our activities in compliance with the WHS Act
  • A framework of policy, procedures and practices that ensure that UCSA is compliant with the duties and obligations of a Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) under the WHS Act
  • Commitment and the proactive involvement of *Officers, Executive Officers and senior management in achieving compliance with the WHS Act
  • Responsibilities of Managers and Supervisors are to be clearly established for the work health and safety of personnel under their control
  • Effective consultation with directly affected workers
  • Clearly defined and assigned roles, responsibilities and procedures for achieving UCSA’s aims and objectives
  • Managers, Supervisors and workers, where applicable, will be provided with role appropriate and adequate training, instructions and information to enable them to fulfil their responsibilities
  • The adequate provision of resources including human, logistical and financial in order to conduct our workplace activities free from the uncontrolled risk of injury or harm to workers or other persons

UCSA as a Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU)

The church as a whole and each of the individual councils of the church are unincorporated associations.  UCSA acknowledges that in accordance with the Section 5 (2) of the WHS Act, as an unincorporated association, it is also PCBU.  

Officers* and the WHS Act

The WHS Act defines an ‘Officer’ to have the same meaning as Section 9 of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (Corps Act) but excludes partners in partnership. In section 9 of the Corps Act that deals with officers of unincorporated associations, in the following definition:

‘Officer’ of an entity that is neither an individual nor a corporation means:

(a)  [partners in partnership]; or

(b)  An office holder of the unincorporated association if the entity is an unincorporated association; or

(c)  A person:

                              i.        Who makes, or participates in making, decisions that affect the whole, or a substantial part, of the business of the entity; or
                             ii.        Who has the capacity to affect significantly the entity’s financial standing.

 Section 27 of the WHS Act requires officers to exercise ‘due diligence’ and undertake all reasonable steps to ensure that UCSA discharges its duties and obligations under the WHS Act.   

It is with this in mind that UCSA has concentrated on applying part (b) and (c) of the above definition to UCSA Councils of Synod and its associated congregations.

Roles and Responsibilities

PCBU Duties

UCSA, as the PCBU, has a primary duty of care to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers and other persons while at work. This duty involves taking action to eliminate risks to health and safety in the workplace or where this is not possible to take reasonable steps to minimise those risks.

Officers Duties

It is the duty of UCSA’s Officers to ensure that the PCBU complies with its duties and obligation under the WHS Act. In complying with their duties officers will ensure effective implementation of UCSA’s health, safety and welfare policies and programs.

Officers will:

  • Understand and execute their duties in accordance with section 27 of the WHS Act
  • Undertake due diligence and take reasonable steps to ensure the PCBU discharges its duties and obligations under the WHS Act to provide a safe, healthy and productive workplace for UCSA workers and other persons
  • Will ensure that UCSA complies with its duty to consult, cooperate and coordinate its work activities with other duty holder where relevant.
  • Will ensure that UCSA complies with its duty to consult workers in the required way, when necessary, in accordance with the WHS Act
  • Ensure that adequate resources are made available to meet work health and safety aims and objectives
  • Ensure that UCSA has adequate resources within the organisation to put this policy into effect, and that all levels of management are given the responsibilities and authority necessary to ensure its effective implementation
  • Ensure that all levels of management are responsible for and support the effective implementation of work, health and safety policy and programs in our worksites for which they have management and control of

In summary Officers;

  • Are accountable under the WHS to ensure UCSA meets its safety obligations to workers and other persons
  • They have the appropriate levels of organisational authority and delegation to use UCSA’s human, financial, logistical and operational resources to achieve compliance with the WHS Act
  • Determine how WHS is managed across UCSA sites and organisational functions
  • Review, consider, evaluate and take appropriate action on safety performance issues identified in Site Consultative Group reports and by other reported means

Managers and Supervisors

Managers and Supervisors are responsible for the health and safety of the workers they supervise, and for the safety impact of our activities on others persons within their area of operation. In particular, Managers and Supervisors are responsible for:

  • Implementing UCSA’s WHS policy and programs for which specific roles and responsibilities will be assigned and communicated
  • Day to day management of work health and safety issues within their area of responsibility
  • Ensuring that agreed mechanisms for consultation regarding all health and safety issues which, may impact on the health and safety of workers, are followed

UCSA Workers

UCSA acknowledges that the term ‘workers’ is defined by Section 7 of the WHS Act and includes an employee, contractor or subcontractor or an employee thereof, an employee of a labour hire company assigned to work for UCSA, an out worker, an apprentice or trainee, a student on work experience, a volunteer or a person of a prescribed class.

Workers will take reasonable care to:

  • Follow safe and healthy work practices
  • Report hazards in the workplace and make recommendations to management on how to reduce the level of risk
  • Avoid adversely affecting their own health and safety or the health and safety of any other person through any act or omission at work, or by the consumption of alcohol or drugs
  • Make proper use of available safety procedures, safety devices and personal protective equipment
  • Comply with any reasonable instruction from an UCSA in relation to health or safety at work
  • Not (or cause another worker to) interfere with, remove, displace or render ineffective any safeguard, safety device, personal protective equipment or other appliance or work system provided for protection; except when necessary as part of an approved maintenance, repair or emergency procedure
  • Assist accident investigators or workplace inspectors
  • Report accidents, injuries and “near miss” incidents to their Manager/Supervisor immediately after the event
  • Actively support the consultation process

Consultation, Coordination & Cooperation with Workers & Other Duty Holders

Where UCSA’s work activities impacts on another duty holder(s) UCSA will, as far as reasonably practicable, consult, co-operate and co-ordinate activities with all other persons who have a duty in relation to the same matter.

UCSA’s officers are responsible ensuring processes for consultation regarding health and safety matters are in place and functioning. This will ensure that managers, supervisors and workers are assisting UCSA to discharge this duty. 

Where a health and safety matters arises that directly affects workers UCSA will, as far as reasonably practicable, conduct consultation with those workers. In pursuing best practice UCSA committed to encouraging consultation between management and workers on health and safety issues.

UCSA External Process - Consultative Process for Consultation, Coordination & Cooperation with Other Duty Holders

When external WHS consultation, co-operation and co-ordination is required with another PCBU or duty holder the following seven (7) step process will apply. 

 hr table 1

UCSA Internal Consultative Process for Workers & Other Persons

UCSA will utilise the internal consultative structure outlined below for all consultation internally with workers at all levels of the organisation.

The current UCSA internal consultative structure consists of WHS Consultative Site Groups for each Presbytery and Synod site, with a member for each site group being part of the All Sites WHS Consultative Group, as outlined in the WHS organisational structure chart below:

Uniting Church SA – Work Health & Safety Consultative Group 

 hr table 2


Role and Responsibilities of WHS Groups


All-Sites (WHS) Consultative Group (ASCG)


The ASCG comprises one representative from each of the defined worksites (212 Pirie Street, UCLT, UAICC and Uniting Venues) and an appointed Chairperson.


Role and responsibilities                                               


In conjunction with management and the Site Consultative Groups:


  • Review all risks and hazards identified by the site consultative groups and report to the relevant Officers any issue of a critical, exceptional or outstanding nature or any matter that may be considered to present further risk or potential harm to UCSA or any of its workers or other persons.
  • Identify and assess the need for instruction, training and supervision of workers.
  • Consult with workers on matters which directly affect work health and safety.


Site Consultative Groups (SCGs)


Each worksite shall have a group size that relates to the number of personnel (a ratio of 1 SCG member to a maximum of 15 personnel)


Role and responsibilities


In conjunction with the ASCG and co workers:


  • Identify all hazards in the workplace.
  • Assess the risks arising from those hazards.
  • Implement measures to eliminate or control those risks.
  • Identify training needs and support instruction, training and supervision of workers.
  • Consult with workers on matters which directly affect health safety and welfare.


The SCG will provide written reports on all findings and recommendations to the ASCG.


Policy Implementation


This policy is to be implemented through the procedures and arrangements established under UCSA’s Human Resources Management policy development and communication processes.


Dissemination of Policy


A copy of this policy will be made available to all UCSA workers and other persons where required. A copy is to be placed in a prominent position in all main areas of every UCSA work site.


The intent of the policy will be explained to each new worker at their induction and to other persons as necessary.


Executive Officer, Resources


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