What is FSC accreditation?

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The Office of the Federal Safety Commissioner (OFSC), which operates under the Attorney General’s Department, is responsible for improving Australian workplace health and safety (WHS) practices on building and construction sites. It was established in 2005 after the Cole Royal Commission into the Building and Construction Industry concluded that the number of workplace-related injury incidents was unacceptable and that industry-standard were in dire need of reform. “There needs to be an attitudinal change to safety.

This change must come from governments, clients, contractors, subcontractors, unions, and workers. The new paradigm must be that projects are completed safely, on time and within budget rather than just on time and within budget.” The Honourable Terence Rhoderic Hudson Cole, Royal Commissioner. Therefore, establishing the Federal Safety Commissioner (FSC) was one of the numerous Royal Commission’s WHS recommendations the Australian Government agreed to implement. stay with us on Edara Systems.

The Office of the Federal Safety Commissioner (OFSC)

The Federal Safety Commissioner (FSC) 

The FSC is in charge of the development, implementation, administration, and promotion of the Australian Government Building and Construction Work Health and Safety Accreditation Scheme (the Scheme), a WHS accreditation scheme for Australian Government building and construction work to promote safety across the industry throughout Australia.

The Scheme’s WHS criteria are one of the strictest and most authoritarian in the world. They consist of a range of strict operational and reporting practices building and construction companies must submit to improve site safety. 

Through the Scheme, the Australian Government can leverage its position as a significant construction client and capital provider to dictate the terms of industry WHS performance improvement standards. To enter into head contracts for building and construction work funded directly (valued at $4 million or more) or indirectly (valued at $6 million or more) by Australian Government agencies, all head contractors must be accredited under the Scheme. 

The Australian Government Building and Construction Work Health and Safety 

The Australian Government Building and Construction Work Health and Safety Accreditation Scheme (the Scheme) is designed to improve health and safety in the building and construction industries. To achieve Work Health and Safety Accreditation, contractors must demonstrate that they dispose of rigorous safety management systems and explain how they are implemented and followed on-site. Although the Scheme specifies a range of criteria that accredited contractors must fulfil, the approaches and processes used to comply with FSC requirements are not imposed. 

Accreditation Scheme for FSC

Accreditation Scheme (the Scheme), What is accreditation?

Being accredited under the Scheme means higher safety management standards and systems and more rigorous and frequent auditing than any other standard. It also means that the FSC certifies that your safety management system meets the Scheme’s requirements, and therefore, you are eligible to tender for Australian Government projects.

Since its establishment, the Scheme has been subject to numerous amendments, the latest one being in January 2015, where an advisory panel of key stakeholders applied several essential changes to it, based on the results of a thorough review and consultation process that was conducted during 2014 as part of the Government’s plan to improve and streamline the Scheme without compromising on safety standards required for accreditation. By implementing these improvements and moving towards a more targeted compliance model, contractors will see their red tape and the compliance burden reduced, and more organisations will be encouraged to apply for accreditation.

What is the aim of accreditation?

The aim was to increase support and guidance, streamline the application FSC process, reduce unnecessary barriers to entry to extend the safety benefits across the industry and improve competitiveness in the market for Commonwealth Government funded construction work.

 The Scheme is nationally recognised as setting the highest safety standards in Australia and internationally, capable of improving safety for both individual companies and the global industry in general. Numerous international construction giants are accredited to the Scheme and claim that it reflects global best practices.

Building work includes, but is not limited to, work on buildings, structures or works that form part of land railways and docks fit-outs preparatory finishing operations multi-dwelling residential developments.

The Office of the Federal Safety Commissioner

Key Criteria for Accreditation

Accreditation seekers must satisfy the following criteria to be granted accreditation:

  1. Proven ability to manage construction hazards and high-risk activities
  2. Hold an acceptable workplace safety track-record
  3. Perform well during on-site audits and consistently achieve acceptable results, particularly with the following areas: 
  • establishing senior management WHS commitment
  • integrating safe design principles onto your risk management process
  • project overall WHS consultation and communication
  • demonstrating effective supply-chain WHS management throughout projects
  • effectively measuring whole of project performance
  • practical WHS competency training to manage safety risks

The FSC Audit Criteria Guidelines have been developed in collaboration with business representatives, key industry stakeholders and Federal Safety Officers. If you are ranted accreditation, your accreditation will include a free listing of your organisation on the FSC register.