About Worksafe ACT

The Work Health and Safety Commissioner

The Work Health and Safety Commissioner (WHS Commissioner) is appointed the Regulator under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (the Act) and is responsible for:

  • the management and administration of the Office of the Work Health and safety Commissioner (the Office)
  • the efficient and effective financial management of the Office
  • exercises the functions of the Office and the regulator’s functions under section 152 of the Act

Together, the Regulator and the Office of the Work Health and Safety Commissioner comprise WorkSafe ACT.

As the Regulator the WHS Commissioner has the following functions:

  • to advise and make recommendations to the Minister and report on the operation and effectiveness of this Act
  • to monitor and enforce compliance with this Act
  • to provide advice and information on work health and safety to duty-holders under this Act and to the community
  • to collect, analyse and publish statistics relating to work health and safety
  • to foster a cooperative, consultative relationship between duty-holders and the persons to whom they owe duties and their representatives in relation to work health and safety matters
  • to promote and support education and training on matters relating to work health and safety
  • to engage in, promote and coordinate the sharing of information to achieve the object of this Act, including the sharing of information with a corresponding regulator
  • to conduct and defend proceedings under this Act before a court or tribunal
  • any other function given to the regulator by this Act or another territory law

The Work Health and Safety Commissioner is Jacqueline Agius. Ms Agius has been appointed for a term of five years pursuant to Schedule 2, section 2.21 of the Act.

The Office of the Work Health and Safety Commissioner

The Office is an independent entity established by the Act which supports the Regulator to administer the Territory’s work, health and safety related legislation by providing information, advice and support as well as compliance and enforcement activities to ensure safe, fair, productive working lives for Canberrans.

The Office has the overarching functions of education, research and awareness raising. Specifically, the Office’s responsibilities include:

  • to promote an understanding and acceptance of, and compliance with this Act or
  • another territory law relating to work health and safety
  • to undertake research, and develop educational and other programs for the purpose
  • of promoting work health and safety
  • to advise the Minister on any matter relevant to the operation of a territory law
  • under which the commissioner performs a function
  • any other function given to the office under this Act or another territory law under
  • which the office performs a function.

WorkSafe ACT also has limited licensing functions providing licences and permits for individuals under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, the Dangerous Substances Act 2004, the Scaffolding and Lifts Act 1912, and the Machinery Act 1949. The Dangerous Substances (Explosives) Regulation 2004 provides for the issuing of licences and/or permits relating to all aspects involving explosives.

Additionally the Office licences self-insurers, approved insurers and rehabilitation providers under the Workers Compensation Act 1951.

The Work Health and Safety Council

The ACT Work Health and Safety Council (WHS Council) is established under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011. The newly constituted WHS Council follows changes to the previous ACT Work Safety Council made under the Work Health and Safety Amendment Act 2019. The WHS Council provides advice to the Minister for Employment and Workplace Safety on matters relating to work health and safety, workers' compensation, workplace relations, bullying in the workplace and other workplace psychosocial issues. In addition, the WHS Council also has a strengthened function in advising the Minister in relation to the activities and function of the ACT's work health and safety regulator.

The minister for Employment and Workplace Safety appoints WHS council Members on a part time basis for up to four years. The WHS Council is comprised of twelve appointed members: five members following consultation with employee representatives, five members following consultation with employer representatives and two ex-officio members: the WHS Commissioner and the Public Sector Workers Compensation Commissioner.

For information about the ACT Work Health and Safety Council, including a list of council members, please email ACTWorkSafetyCouncil.Secretariat@act.gov.au.

Ministerial Statement of Expectations

The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (the Act) requires that the Minister must, at least once every 12 months, make a statement setting out the priority activities and initiatives for the office (a Statement of Expectations) and give the Statement of Expectations to the WHS Commissioner.

Before making a Statement of Expectations, the Minister must consult the council about the priority activities and initiatives for the office in the next 12 months. The statement of expectations must not include specific direction about the exercise of a regulatory function under the Act; but may include general directions about the priority activities and initiatives for the office and any information the Minister believes will assist the office to implement the statement of expectations.

The Ministers 2020-21 Statement of Expectations will be available here soon.

Statement of Operational Intent

Within 60 days after the day the Minister gives the Statement of Expectations to the WHS Commissioner, the Commissioner must give the Minister a draft Statement of Operational Intent setting out how the office will give effect to the Statement of Expectations. The Minister must, within 60 days after the day the Minister receives a draft statement of operational intent approve the draft statement, reject the draft statement or approve the draft statement with conditions.

The approved 2020-21 Statement of Operational Intent is available here.

Strategic Plan

In accordance with the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (the Act), every four years the WHS Commissioner must make a Strategic Plan that includes the following:

  • the purpose and objectives of the office;
  • the outcomes to be achieved by the office;
  • strategies to be used by the office to achieve the aforementioned purpose, objectives and outcomes;
  • the strategic enforcement priorities for the office;
  • a description of the operating environment of the office;
  • the performance criteria for the office;
  • strategies to improve the capability of the office;
  • procedures for the oversight and management of risk within the office; and
  • any other matter related to strategic planning for the office prescribed by regulation.

The WHS Commissioner must consult the Minister and the WHS Council in the development of the plan. Once the plan is notified, the Commissioner has 10 days to provide a copy to the Minister. The Minister must present the Strategic Plan to the Legislative Assembly within 6 sitting days after receiving the plan.

Access the 2020-2024 Strategic Plan

Organisation chart

The Organisation Chart will be updated soon

Statistical information

Explore the following pages under this section to obtain more specific information:

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