Due diligence (Section 27) means taking reasonable steps to ensure compliance mechanisms are in place that enable a corporation to meet its OHS responsibilities. It means you must:

  • have up-to-date knowledge of WHS matters
  • gain an understanding of a corporation’s operations, including its hazards and risks
  • ensure that the corporation has available, and uses, appropriate resources and processes to minimise risks
  • ensure that the corporation has, and implements, processes for receiving, considering and responding to information regarding incidents, hazards and risks
  • ensure that the corporation implements processes for complying with any duty or responsibility under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 – eg reporting notifiable incidents, consulting with employees, complying with notices, ensuring OHS training and instruction is provided to employees, and ensuring that elected WHS representatives undertake any required course of training.

Regulation 213 of the Work Helath and Safety Act states: 

A person with management or control of plant at a workplace must ensure that maintenance, inspection, and if necessary testing, of plant is carried out by a competent person in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations, or if those aren’t available, in accordance with recommendations of a competent person. If it is not reasonably practicable to comply with the manufacturer’s recommendations or the recommendations of a competent person, the inspection and testing must occur annually.

The inspection of plant should be conducted in accordance with a regular maintenance system to identify any:

  • potential problems that were not anticipated during plant design or task analysis
  • deficiencies in plant or the equipment associated with use of plant, for example wear and tear, corrosion and damaged plant parts
  • adverse effects of changes in processes or materials associated with plant, and
  • inadequacies in control measures that have been previously implemented.

Inspection of associated work processes should be conducted regularly to identify any:

  • unsafe work practices associated with the use of plant
  • negative effects of changes in processes or materials associated with plant, and
  • inadequacies in control measures that have been previously implemented.

Regularly inspect hand-held powered plant and repair or replace them when necessary, and replace damaged or worn parts (such as grinding wheels).

Any control measures implemented, such as guards and warning devices, must be regularly inspected and tested to ensure they remain effective.

You should keep an up-to-date register of the items of plant requiring regular inspection and maintenance. It should include information on:

  • allocated responsibilities for people dealing with inspections
  • standards against which plant should be inspected
  • the frequency of inspections
  • critical safety instructions to be followed during inspection, for example the isolation procedure
  • the procedures for particular types of inspections including:
    • periodic inspections
    • specific tests
    • repaired or modified plant, and
  • any variations from normal operation or dangerous occurrences and any trends that may be occurring.

Reasonably practicable control measures must be implemented to ensure the health and safety of the person conducting the inspection, for example by ensuring that plant is switched off or isolated from the energy source to avoid accidental re-energising of dangerous parts.

An officer includes:

  • a secretary or director of a corporation
  • someone who makes, or participates in making, decisions that affect the whole, or a substantial part, of a corporation
  • someone who has the capacity to significantly affect a corporation’s financial standing
  • someone who is accustomed to having their instructions actioned by the board – this does not include those who provide advice to the board as part of their role.

Regulation 210 of the Work Health and Safety Act states:

If there is a need to operate plant during maintenance or cleaning, the person with management or control of the plant must ensure that the operators’ controls allow the safe operation of the plant while a person is undertaking the maintenance or cleaning.

If the plant is operated by a person other than the person who is carrying out the maintenance or cleaning, the person operating the plant must be authorised to do so by the person with management or control of the plant.

Plant must be maintained and repaired according to the manufacturer’s specifications or, in the absence of such specifications, in accordance with a competent person’s recommendations. For example, ensure fluid levels and pressures are correct and ensure brakes are functioning properly.

Plant should be isolated before maintenance or cleaning commences. Where plant is isolated and plant shutdown will result, any total or partial shutdown should not allow a hazardous situation to be created.

Isolated or disengaged plant should:

  • not hinder or interfere with the operation of any other plant
  • have guards in place where a risk of injury is identified, and
  • not obstruct access.

A process should be put in place to enable effective communication and consultation with affected workers and other persons conducting a business or undertaking to prevent any risk to health and safety arising from restarting the operation of the plant which has been shut down due to inspection, maintenance or cleaning.

Where plant cannot be isolated, methods to prevent accidental operation must be implemented. The work should be carried out under controlled procedures to allow for maintenance and cleaning without risk to the health and safety of the person performing the work.

Following maintenance all guarding must be replaced prior to start-up of plant.

Damaged plant should be withdrawn from service until any risks to health and safety have been controlled.

Managing the Risks of Plantin the Workplace Code of Practice

A PCBU includes an employer, corporation, association, partnership, sole trader and certain volunteer organisations. For example, a volunteer organisation that employs a person to carry out work is a PCBU. But a volunteer organisation that operates with volunteers and does not employ anyone is not a PCBU.

A PCBU has the primary duty of care for workplace health and safety.

With proper use a portable fire extinguisher will be able to reduce or eliminate the degree of injury, damage and cost to business in the event of a small fire.

  • If you are considering making changes to your building’s scheduled fire safety measures, enforceable by law, you must seek council approval before making such changes. Contact your local council’s Fire Safety Officer for further information.
  • If portable fire extinguishers are installed in your building they are required to be maintained in accordance with the requirements of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000, to ensure they are fully operational in the instance of a fire.
  • Each extinguisher shall be located in conspicuous, readily accessible location. Fire & Rescue NSW recommends that a surrounding clearance of a minimum of 1000mm be maintained around each extinguisher.
  • Extinguishers must be thermally protected IF installed in locations where the temperature is outside the range of 5C to 50C.
  • Each extinguisher shall be supported by an appropriate support fitting or bracket, or placed in a cabinet or enclosure with the front of the extinguisher facing outwards.
  • Distribution of extinguishers in buildings shall be in accordance with the hazard present in the area to be protected rather than size of the area. (See table on page 2 of this fact sheet.)



  • Max – 1200mm from floor to top of extinguisher handle
  • Min – 100mm from floor to bottom of extinguisher


  • Min – 2000 mm above floor level.
  • At a point that makes them most apparent to a person of average height & visual acuity.
  • The extinguisher or extinguisher sign shall be clearly visible for up to 20 metres on approach.
  • The size of the sign shall be determined by location on and distance at which the sign must be legible.
  • A minimum of one sign must be provided above or adjacent to an extinguisher even if indicating the location of multiple or a mixed group of extinguishers.
  • The extinguisher and fire point location signs shall have a symbol, border and letters in white on a red field, complying with Australian Standard (AS) 2700.
  • The Australian Standard (AS) 2444 Portable Fire Extinguishers and Fire Blankets selection and location will provide comprehensive and specific information.

Below is a basic chart showing which fire extinguisher to use each type of fire.

Class of Fire Example of Fire Extinguishing medium to be considered
A Clothing fire

  • Pyjamas, shirt, pants
  • Water
  • Fire Blanket
A Small carbonaceous fire

  • Waste paper bin
  • Water
  • Foam
  • ABE powder
  • Wet chemical
  • Vaporising liquid
  • Carbon dioxide (limited)
A Large carbonaceous fire

  • Pallet of cardboard
  • Water
  • Foam
  • ABE powder
B Petroleum based liquids

  • oil
  • grease
  • turps
  • BE and ABE powder
  • Foam
  • Vaporising liquid (limited)
  • Carbon dioxide
B Polar Solvents

  • Cleaning spirits
  • Alcohols
  • BE and ABE powder
  • Alcohol resisting foam
  • Vaporising liquid (limited)
  • Carbon dioxide (limited)
C Gas fires

  • BBQ gas
  • LPG
  • Natural Gas
  • Acetylene
  • BE and ABE powder
  • NOTE- Gas fires are not to be extinguished unless the gas supply has been shut down first!
D Metal Fires

  • Metal shavings
  • Special powder
E Fires involving energised electrical equipment

  • Fuse box
  • Computer equipment
  • BE and ABE powder
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Vaporising liquid
F Cooking oils and fats

  • Dripping
  • Butter
  • Olive oil
  • Wet chemical
  • BE powder
  • Fire Blanket
  • Foam (limited)
  • Carbon dioxide (limited)

Source: Fire and Rescue NSW

Reasonably practicable means doing what is reasonably able to be done to ensure the health and safety of workers and others.

Employers and businesses (and other PCBUs) should always try to eliminate, so far as is reasonably practicable, any health and safety risks in the workplace.

If a risk cannot be removed, you must minimise it by doing one or more of these things:

  • substituting (wholly or partly) the hazard with something with a lesser risk
  • isolating the hazard from any person exposed to it
  • implementing engineering controls (if the risk remains you must implement administrative controls)
  • use personal protective equipment.

If these controls do not fully eliminate or minimise the risk, the you must implement administrative controls and then, if appropriate, ensure the provision of suitable personal protective equipment. A combination of controls may be used to minimise a risk if a single control is not sufficient.

In determining control measures, the you should identify and consider everything that may be relevant to the hazards and risks and the means of eliminating or minimising the risks.

When determining what is reasonably practicable, you should take into account:

  • the likelihood of the hazard or risk occurring
  • the degree of harm from the hazard or risk
  • knowledge about ways of eliminating or minimising the hazard or risk
  • the availability and suitability of ways to eliminate or minimise the risk
  • cost.

Talking to workers will help you identify hazards. Analysing previous incidents will also provide an excellent source of information about risks.

The WHS Regulation and relevant codes of practice will also provide more information about controlling hazards.

Other sources of information include:

  • technical standards
  • material published by other work health and safety regulators
  • industry practice and publications
  • published scientific and technical literature.

Source: SafeWork NSW Website

A worker is someone who carries out work for a PCBU.

A worker includes an employee, labour hire staff, volunteer, apprentice, work experience student, subcontractor, and contractor.

A sole trader who is a PCBU and carries out work for another business (PCBU) is also a worker for that PCBU.

The duties of a worker, as set out in the model WHS Act, are the same as those of an employee, as set out in the OHS Act. While at work, a worker must take reasonable care for their own safety and ensure that they do not adversely affect the health and safety of others (clients, customers and visitors).

A worker must comply with any reasonable instruction and cooperate with the PCBU’s WHS policy and procedures.