MSAPMOHS601A – Establish workplace OHS management system


This unit covers the establishment and maintenance of the OHS management system (OHSMS) at the senior management level, in order to meet legislative requirements and to ensure that the workplace is, so far as is practicable, safe and without risks to the health of employees.

Pre Requisites

This unit has the prerequisite of MSAOHS503A Maintain the workplace OHS management system.


This competency applies to managers and senior technicians who have an OHS responsibility. It typically applies when an OHSMS is being established, but could be used for a complete review of an existing OHSMS

Performance Criteria

1. Identify needs of the OHSMS    
1.1 Analyse the workplace to identify needs and workplace factors that may impact on the design of the OHSMS.
1.2 Clarify OHS legal obligations in relation to the specific workplace.
1.3 Review relevant standards relating to OHSMS.
1.4 Identify links with other functional areas and management systems.
1.5 Seek input from stakeholders on the design of the OHSMS.

2. Establish the framework for the OHSMS    
2.1 Ensure OHS responsibilities and duties are documented and accountability processes are in place.
2.2 Identify and source financial and human resources required for the operation of the OHSMS.
2.3 Establish or review OHS policies and procedures.
2.4 Ensure implications of any proposed changes to the workplace are identified and addressed.
2.5 Recognise limits of own professional expertise and consult OHS specialists as necessary.

3. Establish and maintain participative arrangements for the management of OHS.    
3.1 Establish and maintain appropriate participative processes with employees and their representatives in accordance with relevant OHS legislation and industry standards.
3.2 Provide information on OHS to employees in a format that is readily accessible and understandable.
3.3 Promptly and effectively deal with and resolve issues raised through participation and consultation in accordance with procedures for issues resolution.
3.4 Provide information about the outcomes of participation and consultation in a manner accessible to employees.

4. Establish and maintain risk management processes    
4.1 Establish or review procedures for hazard, incident and injury reporting and investigation.
4.2 Establish or review procedures for hazard identification, hazard analysis and risk assessment.
4.3 Establish or review hazard specific risk control measures currently in place to meet legal requirements and minimise risk as far as is practicable.
4.4 Establish or review procedures for on going control of identified hazards and monitoring of the effectiveness of controls.

5. Establish and maintain an OHS training program.    
5.1 Conduct an OHS training needs assessment for the workgroup that takes account of legislative requirements, internal policies and procedures, skills of workgroup and risk control requirements.
5.2 Develop and implement an OHS training program to identify and fulfil employee’s OHS training needs as a part of the organisation general training program.
5.3 Coordinate with relevant training experts as necessary.

6. Establish and maintain a system for OHS records.    
6.1 Identify and address legal requirements for record keeping and reporting.
6.2 Identify and access sources of OHS information.
6.3 Take actions to ensure that records are accurately completed, collected and stored.

7. Implement OHS systems, strategies and plans     
7.1 Determine OHS priorities in consultation with managers and taking account of participative arrangements in the workplace.
7.2 Develop plans for the implementation of OHS strategies.
7.3 Monitor and update plans for achievement as required.

Required Skills & Knowledge

This describes the essential skills and knowledge and their level required for this unit.
Knowledge and understanding of the workplace OHSMS and State OHS legislative requirements, regulations, codes of practice and relevant industry standards, sufficient to establish and maintain the OHSMS within the scope of their responsibilities and competencies.
In these industries which are characterised by high risk hazards, it is vital that the overarching legal responsibility of managers is recognised in relation to the establishment and implementation of the OHSMS, including ensuring the compliance of operators with established policies and procedures. The responsibility applies not only within the general OHS Acts and regulations, but also within the legislation and national and industry standards applying to hazardous substances, dangerous goods and major hazards.

Competence includes the ability to apply a working knowledge of:

  •     all relevant State/Territory OHS legislation particularly as it relates to the roles and responsibilities of employers and employees, including supervisors and contractors, requirements for information and consultation and processes and arrangements to met these obligations, requirements for OHS record keeping and reporting and requirements for training and licensing
  •     elements of an OHSMS and principles and practices of effective OHS management and risk control, OHSMS requirements of other functional area and management systems including business planning, purchasing, maintenance, contractors, training
  •     barriers to implementation of OHS, including language and literacy, cultural diversity of workforce and workplace culture in relation to OHS
  •     codes of practice, relevant industry standards, workplace procedures and work instructions
  •     apply the hierarchy of control to develop risk control procedures.

Language, literacy and numeracy requirements
This unit requires the ability to communicate technical information at all levels and using all modes of communication.
Writing is required to the level of writing reports, policies and procedures.
Numeracy is required to interpret and manipulate technical data

Range Statement

This unit of competency describes OHS requirements applicable for those with managerial responsibilities for establishment and ongoing management of the occupational health and safety management system within the organisation. This may be as a worker or as an owner of a business.
The competency is to be exhibited within the area of managerial responsibility, which may be an entire organisation or department of an organisation. Roles and responsibilities will vary from organisation to organisation.
Competence is demonstrated in the context of an organisation where the OHS system with related policies, procedures and programs may or may not be established. Where the OHS system is established, the role will relate to the review of the OHSMS.

Workplace factors that may impact on the design of the OHSMS include:

  •     whether certification is required
  •     organisational structure
  •     management commitment
  •     management style and OHS knowledge and skills of managers
  •     workplace culture, including industrial relations and safety culture
  •     communication and consultation processes
  •     other management systems requiring interface or integration with the OHSMS
  •     resources available
  •     nature of hazards and level of risk
  •     staff profile, including language, literacy and numeracy, workplace ethnic and cultural diversity, special needs for employees.

Other functional areasand management systems may include:

  •     strategic planning
  •     purchasing, procurement and contracting
  •     logistics
  •     HR and personnel management, including payroll
  •     engineering and maintenance
  •     information and records management
  •     finance and auditing
  •     environmental management
  •     quality management.

Relevant standards relating to OHS may include:

  •     Australian standards
  •     standards developed by OHS authorities
  •     industry standards
  •     standards developed by commercial organizations.

Legal requirements for record keeping will include requirements under:

  •     hazardous substances and dangerous goods legislation, including requirements to keep registers
  •     OHS and environmental legislation to report serious incidents and injuries, keep records of risk assessments.

All operations are performed in accordance with procedures.
Procedures include all relevant workplace procedures, work instructions, temporary instructions and relevant industry and government codes and standards.

Typical hazards include:

  •     handling chemicals and hazardous materials
  •     chemical and or hazardous materials spillage
  •     gases and liquids under pressure
  •     moving machinery
  •     materials handling
  •     working at heights, in restricted or confined spaces, or environments subjected to heat, noise, dusts or vapours
  •     fire and explosion.

Typical process and product problems may include:

  •     incidents with a potential for serious injury
  •     fires and explosions
  •     chemical spills
  •     bomb scares.

OHS Information Sources
Sources of OHS information may be external and include:

  •     OHS legislation, codes of practice and Australian and International standards
  •     OHS regulators
  •     industry bodies
  •     internet sites, journals and newsletters

Internal sources of OHS information include:

  •     OHS policies and procedures
  •     manufacturer manuals
  •     risk assessments, JSAs, workplace inspections
  •     MSDSs and registers
  •     hazard and incident reports.

Evidence Guide

Overview of assessment
A holistic approach should be taken to the assessment.
Assessors must be satisfied that the person can consistently perform the unit as a whole, as defined by the Elements, Performance Criteria and skills and knowledge.
Where the assessee does not currently possess evidence of competency in MSAOHS503A Maintain the workplace OHS management system, it may be co-assessed with this unit.

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit
It is essential that the OHS issues and workgroup dynamics are understood together with the required OHS knowledge in order to frame and implement an OHSMS that is practical and relevant to the workplace. It is essential that competence is demonstrated in the knowledge and skills defined in this unit. These may include the ability to:

  •     develop appropriate documentation
  •     consult and negotiate to implement the policies and procedures
  •     apply a systematic process to planning and implementation.

Consistent performance should be demonstrated. For example, the required level includes a working knowledge of the OHSMS as it applies in the specific workplace. Look to see knowledge and understanding of:

  •     OHS responsibilities of all levels in the workplace
  •     the consultation processes, either general or specific to OHS
  •     training and assessment of training needs
  •     hazard identification and risk assessment
  •     implementation of risk control measures by applying the hierarchy of control
  •     the need for specific hazard policies and procedures
  •     new and relevant OHS information
  •     OHS record keeping
  •     the system/routine for maintenance of plant and equipment
  •     the system for purchasing of supplies and equipment
  •     OHS issue resolution processes.

These aspects are best assessed in the actual workplace and work group however they may also be assessed as a review process in a sample workgroup accessed for the purpose of the assessment supported by a range of scenarios/case studies.

Assessment method and context
Assessment will occur on an industrial site/plant and will be undertaken in a work-like environment.
Competence in this unit may be assessed:

  •     on an appropriate, industrial plant/site
  •     in a situation allowing the generation of evidence of the ability to respond to problems
  •     by using a suitable simulation and/or a range of case studies/scenarios
  •     through a combination of these techniques.

In all cases it is expected that practical assessment will be combined with targeted questioning to assess the underpinning knowledge and theoretical assessment will be combined with appropriate practical/simulation or similar assessment. Assessors need to be aware of any cultural issues that may affect responses to questions.
Assessment processes and techniques must be culturally appropriate and appropriate to the oracy, language and literacy capacity of the assessee and the work being performed.

Specific resources for assessment
This section should be read in conjunction with the Range Statement for this unit of competency. Resources required include suitable access to an operating plant or equipment that allows for appropriate and realistic simulation. A bank of case studies/scenarios and questions will also be required to the extent they form part of the assessment method. Questioning may take place either in the workplace, or in an adjacent, quiet facility such as an office or lunchroom. No other special resources are required.
Access must be provided to appropriate learning and/or assessment support when required. Where applicable, physical resources should include equipment modified for people with disabilities.