The construction industry is designated as a priority industry for work health and safety due to the high number and rate of work-related injuries and illnesses and inherent risks associated with working in the industry. However, the Cole Royal Commission into the Building and Construction Industry found that the safety record for the industry was unacceptable.

The Federal Safety Commissioner (FSC) was established in order to implement the majority of the Royal Commission’s WHS recommendations to develop, implement and administer a WHS accreditation scheme for Australian Government building and construction work.

In June 2004 it was announced that the FSC would be administratively established within the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations. The FSC and the Scheme are provided for under the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Act 2016 (the Act).

Federal Safety Commissioner (FSC) for which projects and contractors?

Subject to certain financial thresholds, only builders who are accredited under the Scheme can enter into head contracts for building work that is funded directly or indirectly by the Australian Government.

Directly Funded Projects:

Projects are considered to be directly funded where an Australian Government agency has responsibility for the project funding and development, for example a Defence facility, Medicare or Centrelink Office or a fit-out or refurbishment of existing Australian Government office accommodation.

The Scheme applies to projects that are directly funded by the Australian Government with a value of $4 million or more.

Indirectly Funded Projects

Projects are considered indirectly funded where an Australian Government agency contributes funding to a recipient through a funding agreement, grant or other program, for example road construction projects funded by the Australian Government or a new school built by a state government using funding provided by the Australian Government.

The Scheme applies to projects that are indirectly funded by the Australian Government where

  • A head contract under the project includes building work of $4 million or more (GST inclusive) AND:
  • the value of the Australian Government contribution to the project is at least $6 million (including GST) and represents at least 50 percents of the total construction project; OR

the Australian Government contribution to a project is $10 million (including GST) or more, irrespective of the proportion of Australian Government funding.

Additional requirements in comparison with AS/NZS 4801

The Federal Safety Commissioner (FSC) has strict requirements to develop documented processes for all WHS associated activities comparing the AS/NZS 4801. Here are some requirements:

  • The documented process to ensure all current health and safety legislation, codes of practice and Australian standards relevant to the project are readily available on-site and workers are informed of the method of access. Also, to ensure changes are reviewed and processes updated as required.
  • The documented process ensures that senior managers demonstrate participation in the company HIRAC processes.
  • The documented process to ensure the project HIRAC process is undertaken by personnel trained in the use of the company’s HIRAC methodology and tools.
  • The documented process to liaise with client/public/other entities to implement a HIRAC process for any hazards impacting any of the parties.
  • The documented process to define the company’s acceptable risk level and management actions to be taken if the assessed risk is higher than that level.
  • Documented process to ensure a competent person completes a site-specific assessment of potential health hazards, including – biological; – physical; and – chemical/atmospheric contaminants.
  • Documented process to ensure inspection, measuring and test equipment related to health and safety is identified, calibrated, and maintained in accordance with manufacturers’ requirements and relevant legislation, codes of practice and Australian standards.
  • The documented process to ensure Investigations: – are undertaken by a trained person(s); – identify the factor(s) that led to the incident; – incorporate a process for the identification and management of corrective actions; – involve and/or are reviewed by site/senior management as defined by the company’s system; and – prompt a review of relevant
  • The documented process to manage corrective actions for identifying organisation-wide issues and ensuring lessons learnt are communicated throughout the organisation.
  • The documented process ensures senior managers regularly visit the site and discuss WHS issues with site management and workers.

How ISO Consulting Services can help you

Please contact us if you need our hands to assist you to develop and establish your FCS framework. We will assist you with

  • Conducting a document review and gap assessment against the requirements of the OFSC Accreditation Scheme
  • Update the existing documents and Develop required documents in compliance with the requirements of the OFSC Accreditation Scheme
  • Providing supervision, consultation and guidance for implementation of systems
  • Conducting internal audits and assisting with corrective actions
  • Assisting with completion of OFSC scheme application
  • Attending at the OFSC audits and assisting with corrective actions
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