Risk registers – do we need one for each state?

Risk registers – do we need one for each state?
By Gaby Grammeno on 14 November 2017 What are the requirements for risk registers? Can we have one national risk register or is one needed for each state?

This question was sent to our Ask an Expert service.

Q I oversee WHS for our company from our Sydney head office. We have branches in Victoria, Western Australia and Queensland. I hold our risk register in Sydney and incident reports are all forwarded to me. Does each state need to hold its own risk register on site or can I retain this information at a national level in head office?

A A risk register can be a useful tool in spotting previously unidentified hazards, risks and trends in the types of incidents reported. However, there is no requirement for a risk register in the WHS/OHS legislation of Victoria, WA, Queensland or New South Wales. Therefore, there is no obligation for each state to hold its own risk register.

There may be an advantage in retaining all the incident reports in head office at the national level, as you will presumably have a larger bank of data. This may highlight trends that are not apparent at the state level (due to fewer incident reports).

Note, however, that particular requirements apply to records of notifiable incidents – that is, work-related deaths, serious injuries and dangerous incidents (as specified in sections 37 and 38 of the Work Health and Safety Act in NSW and Queensland, section 37 and 38 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act in Victoria).

An employer or other person conducting a business or undertaking must keep a record of each notifiable incident for at least five years from the day that notice of the incident is given to the regulator. The records of notified incidents should be available to be inspected by an inspector from the relevant regulator or to certain other people who are likely to be local to the workplace. Therefore, the records of such incidents should be kept at the workplaces where the incidents occurred, even if these records are duplicated at the national level. 

Particular requirements apply to records of incidents in relation to confined spaces, electrical work, diving operations, asbestos removal and high risk construction work including excavation.
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