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Training Glossary

Training Glossary

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Asbestos-contaminated dust or debris

Asbestos containing material

Australian Dangerous Goods

ADG Code
Australian Code for the Transport of Dangerous Goods by Road and Rail; also referred to as the Australian Dangerous Goods Code

An aggravation is when a pre-existing condition is made worse by employment. A worker may have an entitlement to compensation for an aggravation if their employment was a significant contributing factor causing the pre-existing condition to worsen.

Australian Standard
Documents outlining specific requirements associated with particular areas in Workplace Health and Safety in Australia (AS) or Australian and New Zealand (AS/NZS).

A substance or mixture that causes or is suspected of causing cancer

Cease Work
A HSR can order a cease work (after completion of an approved course of training) or a worker can cease work if concerned about exposure to a serious risk to health and safety emanating from an immediate or imminent hazard.

Code of Practice
Codes of practice are practical guides to achieving the standards of health, safety and welfare required under the WHS Act and the WHS Regulations in a jurisdiction. To have legal effect in a jurisdiction a model Code of Practice must be approved as a code of practice in that jurisdiction. To determine if a model Code of Practice has been approved in a particular jurisdiction, check with the relevant WHS regulator. Under a WHS Act in a jurisdiction, approved codes of practice are admissible in court proceedings. Courts may regard an approved code of practice as evidence of what is known about a hazard, risk or control and may rely on the code in determining what is reasonably practicable in the circumstances to which the code relates.

Competent person
A person is considered to be a competent person if they have acquired through training, qualification or experience the knowledge and relevant technical skills to carry out the task.

The act of meeting requirements of applicable Laws and Regulations - e.g. legislation, regulations, Australian standards, industry standards, guidelines, codes of conduct, code of ethics and organisational policies.?

Confined Space
From the WHS Act Regulation 5:A confined space means an enclosed or partially enclosed space that: is not designed or intended primarily to be occupied by a person; and is, or is designed or intended to be, at normal atmospheric pressure while any person is in the space; and is or is likely to be a risk to health and safety from: an atmosphere that does not have a safe oxygen level, or contaminants, including airborne gases, vapours and dusts, that maycause injury from fire or explosion, or harmful concentrations of any airborne contaminants, or engulfment.

Control Measure
An action taken to eliminate or minimise health and safety risks so far as is reasonably practicable. A hierarchy of control measures is set out in the WHS Regulations to assist duty holders to select the highest control measures reasonably practicable.

cost-benefit analysis
A cost-benefit analysis is a systematic approach to evaluate alternatives and determining the most economical way to provide resources.


Decibel - The unit for measuring sound levels.

Discriminatory conduct
Discriminatory conduct means: dismissing a worker terminating their contract altering a worker’s position or in any other way doing something to the detriment of the worker. It can also mean: failing to engage a prospective worker treating a prospective worker less favourably than another terminating a commercial arrangement failing to enter into a commercial arrangement. Threatening to take any of this action is also discriminatory conduct.

Due diligence
Due Diligence is being proactive in keeping up to date with knowledge of work health and safety matters and in ensuring the PCBU meets their work health and safety obligations. Due diligence obligations are designed to ensure Officers take reasonable steps to ensure the use of appropriate resources, policies, procedures and health and safety practices in undertaking overall and daily business operations.

Duty holder
The term ‘duty holder’ refers to any person who owes a work health and safety duty under the WHS Act, including: a person conducting a business or undertaking designers manufacturers importers suppliers upstream duty holders such as the installer of product or plant used at work officers workers. It is possible for more than one person to simultaneously have the same duty, in which case the duty becomes shared. However, duties cannot be transferred.

Enforceable undertaking
An enforceable undertaking is a legally binding agreement in which a person or organisation decides to rectify a contravention of the WHS Act to improve work health and safety outcomes and performance. As an alternative to prosecution, enforceable undertakings enable on-site remedies to safety breaches following an agreement between the regulator, an individual or the organisation.

Elevated Work Platform – ie scissor lifts, knuckle booms, straight booms, trailer mounted booms, lift pods etc

When working at height, a freefall is a fall where the worker falls greater than 600mm, but should not fall any greater than 2m if set up correctly. This type of fall is highly dangerous, and workers can die or be severely injured if working in free-fall.

A situation or thing that has the potential to harm a person.

Hazardous Chemical Information System

Health and Safety Committee
A group established under the WHS Act that facilitates cooperation between a PCBU and workers to provide a safe place of work. The committee must have at least 50 per cent of members who have not been nominated by the PCBU — that is, workers or HSRs.

Health and Safety Representative
A worker who has been elected by a work group under the WHS Act to represent them on health and safety issues.

Hierarchy of controls
The hierarchy of controls, in order of effectiveness, are: Elimination - removed the hazard. This is the most effective hazard control. For example, work from the ground instead of at height. Substitution - replace the hazard with a something that is not hazardous or is less hazardous. This is the second most effective control. To be an effective control, the alternative must not produce additional hazards. Engineering controls - engineering controls isolate people from hazards. For example adding safeguarding onto a piece of machinery creates a physical barrier from a person's body to the machines moving parts. Administrative controls - administrative controls change the way people work. For example adding warning signage, introducing procedure changes or providing employee training. Personal protective equipment - provide and require employees to wear protective equipment such as gloves, noise or eye protective, high visibility clothing, hard hats etc.

Hot Work
Hot work is any process that can be a source of ignition when flammable material is present or can be a fire hazard regardless of the presence of flammable material in the workplace. Common hot work processes are welding, soldering, cutting and brazing.

High risk work

See Health and Safety Committee

See Health and Safety Representative

An unplanned occurrence or event that causes or contributes to personal injury or damage to property.

A person appointed under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 to monitor and enforce compliance with NSW WHS laws. They can enter any premises they have reason to believe is a place of work.

Job Safety Analysis(JSA)
A job safety analysis (JSA) is a procedure which helps integrate accepted safety and health principles and practices into a particular task or job operation. In a JSA, each basic step of the job is to identify potential hazards and to recommend the safest way to do the job.

The official power to make legal decisions and judgements. The Australian WHS system uses state based Jurisdictions.

Near miss
An occurrence that might have led to an injury or illness, danger to someone’s health, and/or damage to property or the environment.

Notifiable incident
Includes the death of a person, a serious injury or illness of a person, or a potentially dangerous incident. (See clause 35 of the Model WHS Act)

An officer within the meaning of section 9 of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) other than each partner within a partnership. Broadly, an officer is a person who makes, or participates in making, decisions that affect the whole, or a substantial part, of the organisation's activities. Each partner within a partnership is not an officer but a PCBU in their own right. Under the model WHS Act, an officer must exercise due diligence to ensure compliance by the PCBU with its health and safety obligations.

occupational health and safety. Workplace Health and safety is the new term for occupational health and safety.

Occupational Health and Safety Management System

Person conducting a business or undertaking. The model WHS Act places the primary duty of care on the PCBU. The term PCBU is an umbrella concept used to capture all types of working arrangements or structures. A PCBU can be a: company; unincorporated body or association; sole trader or self-employed person. Individuals who are in a partnership that is conducting a business will individually and collectively be a PCBU.

Equipment or tools used at work.

Platform Ladder
A self-supporting ladder of fixed size with a platform provided at the working level. The size is determined by the distance along the front rail from the platform to the base of the ladder.

Policies are clear, simple statements of how your organisation intends to conduct its services, actions or business. They provide a set of guiding principles to help with decision making.

Provisional Improvement Notice
A legally binding notice, only issued by a HSR, after completion of training. It states that the Act is being breached, reason(s) why and steps that should be taken to fix a problem.

Reasonably Practicable
Section 18 of the WHS Act defines this concept as that which is, or was at the time, reasonably able to be done, or was done at the time, reasonably able to be done in relation to ensuring health and safety taking into account and weighing up all relevant matters including: The likelihood of the hazard or risk occurring. The degree of harm that might result from the hazard or risk What the person concerned knows, or ought reasonably to know, about the hazard and ways of eliminating or minimising it The availability of suitable ways to eliminate or minimise the hazard or risk Only after assessing the risk and solutions, is the cost of eliminating or minimising the hazard or risk considered For more information on reasonably practicable, refer to the ‘Interpretative Guideline on Reasonably Practicable available at

Right of entry
Under certain circumstances, union officials can enter a workplace to enquire into a suspected contravention of work health and safety laws, inspect worker records and consult with workers. Union officials must follow strict procedures, with penalties in place for any misuse of the Right of Entry.

Return to Work

Safety data sheet
A document prepared by the manufacturer, importer or supplier of a dangerous good, hazardous substance or other chemicals. Describes its properties and uses, including details about substance identity, chemical and physical properties, first aid treatment, and precautions for storage, use and safe handling.

Any temporary elevated platform and its supporting structure used for supporting workers, materials, or both

Safety Data Sheet - Previously called a Material Safety Data Sheet

SIRA - State Insurance Regulatory Authority NSW
The government organisation responsible for the regulatory functions for workers compensation insurance, motor accidents compulsory third party (CTP) insurance, and home building compensation.

Safety Management System

The physical, mental and emotional reactions of workers who perceive that their work demands exceed their abilities and/ or their resources (such as time, help/support) to do the work.

Any natural or artificial substance in the form of a solid, liquid, gas or vapour.

Safe Work Method Statements.

Toolbox Talk
A Toolbox Talk is an informal health and safety meeting that focuses on topics related to the workplace or job, such as hazards, safe work practices and how the organisation is minimising risks.

Instruction on how to do a job safely.

A person who acts on a voluntary basis regardless of whether they receive out of pocket expenses.

Work health and safety.

'Workplace Health and Safety'. Generally used in relation to the Australian WHS Industry or associated Laws and regulations.

Work Group
A group of workers represented by an HSR who in many cases share similar work conditions (for example, all the electricians in a factory, all people on night shift, all people who work in the loading bay of a retail storage facility).

Any person who carries out work for a PCBU, including work as an employee, contractor, subcontractor, self-employed person, outworker, apprentice or trainee, work experience student, employee of a labour hire company placed with a ‘host employer’ and volunteers.

Working at Heights
WHS Regulations define working at heights when there is a risk of a fall by a person from one level to another

Any place where a worker goes or is likely to be while work is carried out for a business or undertaking. This may include offices, factories, shops, construction sites, vehicles, ships, aircraft or other mobile structures on land or water such as offshore units and platforms (that are not already covered under the Commonwealth’s offshore WHS laws).

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