Do I need a Certificate IV In Work Health and Safety?

22nd October 2019

This article is for anyone who’s ever thought about a career dedicated to keeping people safe at work, and playing a key role in providing safe work systems. We’ll take a look at the Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety — the entry point for work health and safety officers — and determine the key staff and managers who need one.

HOT TIP: The Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety is a management level qualification but has no pre-requisites for enrolment. Which means you could literally start training for your new career today!


1. HSE Managers

The Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety is the minimum qualification required by Health, Safety, and Environmental (HSE) Managers. HSE Managers are directly responsible for ensuring the organisation meets its WHS compliance obligations, and this nationally recognised Certificate will ensure they have accurate skills in:

  • Risk Management
  • Interpreting WHS legislation and Codes of Practice
  • Responding to dangerous incidents
  • Co-ordinating the WHS committee

2. Senior Managers and CEOs

The Certificate IV in WHS is well suited to departmental managers and CEOs who oversee large groups of staff or contractors, and are enforcing safety procedures on a daily basis. This qualification also delivers the skills and knowledge required to implement work health and safety management systems (WHSMS).


3. Certified WHSOs in Queensland

Under WHS Legislation in Queensland, business owners and operators should appoint a Work Health and Safety Officer (WHSO) to identify risk and hazards at the workplace — as well as report in writing, imminent threats to the health and safety of people, property, and the environment.

The Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety is a required qualification for all Queensland appointed WHSOs as it gives them the skills to:

  • Conduct risk assessments on the safety hazards at workplace
  • Investigate (or assist a WHS Inspector who is investigating) the cause of workplace incidents and near misses
  • Establish WHS educational programs for workers and contractors

Appointed WHSOs who hold a Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety can apply to Work Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) for a government recognised Certificate of Authority.

CAREER TIP: Ask the QLD Registered Training Organisation (RTO) offering the Certificate IV In Work Health and Safety if they are a WHSQ approved course provider. Approved RTOs can issue the WHSO Certificate of Authority along with your Certificate IV in WHS.


Other WHS qualifications

Apart from the Certificate IV, there are three other WHS qualifications that are nationally recognised in Australia. If you need to level-up your WHS skills and knowledge you might also consider:

Certificate III in Work Health and Safety (BSB30719) - designed for anyone who has WHS responsibilities in addition to their main duties eg, line supervisors, HSRs (health and safety representatives) and WHS Committee members. Students learn the fundamentals of hazard identification and risk assessment, as well as how to apply state WHS laws to their own job roles. More importantly, they gain the skills to effectively contribute to the WHS communication and consultation process at their organisation.

Diploma of Work Health and Safety (BSB51319) - for HSE Managers and other senior staff who already hold a Certificate IV In Work Health and Safety. This Diploma focuses on safety leadership and the skills needed to develop, implement and maintain an organisation’s WHS management system. Students can also follow elective pathways in worker’s compensation and return-to-work rehabilitation programs.

Advanced Diploma of Work Health and Safety (BSB60619) - the next level qualification for HSE Managers and savvy executives who are focused on building a positive WHS culture. Participants learn how to apply the principles of safe work design and ergonomics, as well as conduct WHS audits and evaluate the overall WHS performance of their organisation.

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