Why? > Federal Safety Commissioner Accreditation Scheme
The Accreditation Scheme
The Federal Safety Commissioner
Established in 2005, the Federal Safety Commissioner works with industry and government stakeholders towards achieving the highest possible occupational health and safety standards on Australian building and construction projects.
The key functions of the FSC (and the office) include:
• promoting sustainable OHS cultural change in the building and construction industry;
• developing and administering the Australian Government Building and Construction OHS Accreditation Scheme; and
• identifying and progressing initiatives to improve OHS performance.
The Office of the Federal Safety Commissioner
The Office of the Federal Safety Commissioner (OFSC) is part of the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. The OFSC aims to promote and improve OHS in the Australian building and construction industry, by providing administrative support to the functions of the Federal Safety Commissioner.
The Australian Government Building and Construction OHS Accreditation Scheme (the Scheme)
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.
What is directly funded building work?
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 $3 million or more.
What is indirectly funded building work?
Projects are considered indirectly funded where an Australian Government agency contributes funding to a third party recipient, such as a state government, through mechanisms such as funding agreements, grants and other programs, 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:
the value of the Australian Government contribution to the project is at least $5 million and represents at least 50 per cent of the total construction project value; or
• the Australian Government contribution to a project is $10 million or more, irrespective of the proportion of Australian Government funding; and
• the head contracts for building work are greater than $3 million (GST inclusive).
If these conditions are met, then any builder who is not a subcontractor to another builder will need to be accredited.
The Scheme sets a high benchmark and some applicants may need several months to reach the OHS standards required for accreditation. Accreditation is valid for a period of up to three years from the date of accreditation.
Achieving accreditation is a two-stage assessment process comprising a desktop assessment and on-site audit. Evidence of an OHS management system certified to Australian Standard AS/NZS 4801 Occupational health and safety management systems – Specifications with guidance for use or, alternatively, certified to OHSAS 18001 Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems – Specifications is a prerequisite.
Applicants must satisfy the following criteria to obtain accreditation:
1. Evidence of an OHS management system (OHSMS). This needs to be certified to Australian Standard AS/NZS 4801:2001 Occupational health and safety management systems – Specifications with guidance for use or certified to OHSAS 18001:1999 Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems – Specifications.
2. Certification needs to be undertaken by a Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand (JAS-ANZ) accredited certification body.
3. Demonstrated ability to manage construction hazards and high risk activities.
4. Record in relation to workplace safety.
5. On-site audit results.
6. Performance against the following focus points:
i. demonstrated senior management commitment to OHS;
ii. integration of safe design principles into the risk management process;
iii. whole of project OHS consultation and communication;
iv. demonstrated effective subcontractor OHS management arrangements across building and construction projects;
v. whole of project performance measurement; and
vi. OHS training and competency to deal with safety risks.
On successful completion of the desktop assessment, an on-site audit is arranged. The Federal Safety Officer conducting the audit may request documentary evidence in accordance with the criteria to verify the implementation of OHS procedures and practices on site. This process is separate to the initial documentary evidence review carried out at the desktop assessment stage.
The Federal Safety Commissioner will make the final decision on accreditation taking into account the findings of both the desktop assessment and the on-site audit.