The Office of the Federal Safety Commissioner (OFSC) is currently implementing a pilot program for companies seeking initial accreditation under the Scheme. Under the program, achieving accreditation is a three-stage process comprising an initial application, systems validation review and on-site audit.
- your company's previous WHS performance,
- a gap analysis of your current Safety Management System,
- information about your company's operations, and
- any current projects you are working on as the head contractor where audits may be undertaken
Once your application is submitted, the OFSC will forward a further declaration to the company for signature. This declaration confirms that the company will comply with the National Construction Code where applicable to any work it undertakes.
Once your application has been assessed, we will contact you to arrange a Systems Validation audit to assess the company’s WHS Management System against the WHS Accreditation Scheme (the Scheme) criteria. The audit will be conducted by a Federal Safety Officer (FSO). FSOs are independent, external WHS experts contracted by the OFSC.
The arrangements for the audit will be negotiated with the company and it may be undertaken virtually or at a company’s premises. The audit will establish whether there are any gaps in the company’s WHS Management System that prevent it from demonstrating compliance with the Scheme criteria.
Following the Systems Validation audit, you will be provided with a detailed report describing where the criteria has been met and detailing any gaps that have been identified. The report is usually provided around 10 business days after the audit.
The OFSC will then advise whether the company can proceed to Stage 3 or requires a further Systems Validation audit.
The on-site audit will be held at a project where the company is the principal contractor and where its WHS Management System is in place.
At the on-site audit the FSO will request documentary evidence in accordance with the criteria to verify the implementation of WHS procedures and practices on-site.
Following the on-site audit, you will be provided with a detailed report describing where the criteria has been met and detailing any non-conformances. The report is usually provided around 10 business days after the audit.
The Federal Safety Commissioner makes the final decision on whether to grant accreditation, taking into account the findings of the on-site audit.
A note on timing
The Work Health and Safety Accreditation Scheme (the Scheme) sets a high benchmark and many applicants need several audits to reach the WHS standards required for accreditation.
Timeframes for the accreditation process vary from company to company. Currently the average time taken for achieving accreditation is 8 to 10 months. This varies depending on the company’s readiness for the on-site audit process, its ability to provide an active project for audit, and its commitment to rectifying any non-conformances identified at audit.
Companies gaining accreditation for the first time will be granted an initial accreditation period of three years. Companies seeking reaccreditation may be granted an accreditation period of up to six years.