WHS Governance for Executives

Balancing commercial, operational and work health & safety (WHS) objectives can be challenging. This one day course examines contemporary concepts of work design, performance measurement and due diligence that are essential to the effective management and governance of WHS-related business risk. The interactive session explores key issues in WHS risk management and critically analyses the performance information that drives strategic decision-making. Importantly, the course highlights particular WHS measures that are commonly misunderstood and outlines tips for appraising the quality of WHS performance reports.

Who Should Attend

Course Outline

Presenter Information

Dates & Registration

Duration:1 Day

Delivery Mode: Classroom

Location: Darwin CBD (location TBA)

In-house: All states, contact the Professional Education Course Unit for more information. Recommended for groups of 10 or more.

What you will receive

  • Course notes
  • UNSW Canberra certificate of attendance
  • Morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea


*Please note that a discounted rate for group bookings, not-for-profit organisations and member associations may be available.  Please contact profedcourses@adfa.edu.au prior to registration for further information.


This course is designed for company directors, CEOs, executive managers, or public sector equivalent. Participants are encouraged to reflect on their organisation’s key WHS hazards and risks before the session and may wish to bring along a recent example of their organisation’s WHS performance report to explore opportunities for improvement.



    1. Introduction to WHS
    2. Emerging WHS risks and issues.
    3. The business case for effective WHS
    4. Understanding WHS due diligence
    5. Evidence from recent case law
    6. Frameworks for WHS risk management (WHS Act, COPs, ISO)
    7. Understanding good work and organisational design


  1. Accountability and due diligence
  2. Informing strategic decisions
  3. Understanding WHS performance data:
    1. Injury data - why LTIFR doesn’t measure WHS or WHS risk
    2. Understanding lead and lag indicators of WHS
    3. Safety climate, culture, maturity and organisational practice
  4. Verifying WHS risk management effectiveness
  5. Getting what you really need from your WHS / Board reports
  6. Frameworks for external WHS reporting (GRI, ASX, Corporations Act)


Associate Professor Sharron O’Neill

Dr Sharron O'Neill is an Associate Professor in the School of Business, at the University of NSW (Canberra) and a former financial accountant in transport, healthcare and manufacturing organisations. She holds academic and professional accounting qualifications and is a member of CPA Australia, Chartered Accountants of Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ), Australian Institute of Company Directors, and the Safety Institute of Australia (SIA). 

Sharron researches the role of performance measures in governance and accountability and she has particular expertise in the measurement and reporting of work health and safety (WHS) performance. Sharron leads collaborative research projects involving industry, academia and Government, and recently chaired the Global Reporting Initiative's international project working group to revise the global OHS reporting standard (GRI403). Sharron publishes on WHS performance, management accounting, financial accounting, worker entitlements and genetic medicine. She advises government, industry (fund managers, executives and directors) on WHS performance measurement and reporting and presents her research findings

Dr Peta Miller

Peta is a senior lecturer-practitioner at UNSW, Canberra specialising in human factors and ergonomics. She has over thirty-five years’ experience in both the public and private sectors in research, policy and practice.

Peta Miller has a Bachelor of Applied Science in Occupational Therapy and a Post Graduate Diploma in Ergonomics and Human Factors. Her PhD was on the effects of high workload on health, safety and performance. She is a Chartered General OHS Professional (SIA).

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