Safe Work Australia – New Work Health And Safety Harminisation

SAFE WORK AUSTRALIA – NEW WORK HEALTH AND SAFETY (WHS) HARMONISATION

Who is Safe Work Australia?

Safe Work Australia - WHS ACT, Regulations and Codes of PracticeSafe Work Australia is an Australian Government statutory agency established in 2009, working with the Commonwealth, state and territory governments to improve work health and safety and workers’ compensation arrangements across Australia. As Safe Work Australia is a national policy body, not a regulator of work health and safety, the Commonwealth, states and territories have responsibility for regulating and enforcing work health and safety laws in their jurisdiction.

Safe Work Australia works to:

  • Raise awareness of work health and safety as a key issue in the community.
  • Improve work health and safety, through understanding what influences Australian workplace cultures and then putting in place mechanisms to effect change.
  • Harmonise work health and safety laws throughout Australia.
  • Develop national work health and safety and workers’ compensation policy.
  • Identify opportunities for improvement in workers’ compensation arrangements.

What are the key changes due to the harminisation of the new Work Health and Safety laws?

New Work Health and Safety (WHS)  laws introduced by Safe Work Australia replaced the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) laws in all states and territories across Australia on 1 January 2012. The Safe Work Australia Work Health and Safety Act and Work Health and Safety Regulations will replace the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000 and Occupational Health and Safety Regulation 2001. Safe Work Australia developed model WHS Regulations, Codes of Practice, guidance material and compliance and enforcement policies to support the model WHS Act.

Safe Work Australia have implemented the following key changes under the new work health and safety laws:

  • The duties of care are not defined by the nature of employment relationship. This means that the term ‘employer’ currently applied in most occupational health and safety laws is replaced with the term ‘person conducting a business or undertaking’ and ‘employee’ is replaced with a broadly defined term of ‘worker’.
  • The term ‘worker’ includes employees, volunteers, contractors, sub-contractors, apprentices, work experience students and outworkers.
  • The term ‘workplace’ in most jurisdictions will be broadened to include any place where a worker goes or is likely to go while at work.
  • There are positive duties for ‘officers’ to exercise ‘due diligence’ to ensure the person conducting a business or undertaking complies with its duty of care. This is a new way of expressing officers’ responsibilities under current law. Currently some Occupational Health and Safety Acts attribute liability to officers where a corporation is in breach of a duty and they have a reverse onus of proof to show that they did what was reasonably practicable or that they had no influence in relation to the breach. Under the new work health and safety laws there is no attributed liability.
  • A new duty to consult, co-operate and co-ordinate activities with other duty holders has been introduced – this duty aims to address situations where more than one duty holder is responsible for the same work health and safety matter to ensure that duty holders work together to control work health and safety risk.

Visit the Safe Work Australia website to obtain the new Work Health and Safety Act, Regulations or Codes of Practice

How can Off the Tools help you with the new Safe Work Australia Legislation?

Off the Tools sister company Occupational Safety Solutions are dedicated to helping employers prevent workplace injuries by providing the knowledge and resources to help them implement a compliant WHS management system. With our ready made and customised documents there is always a simple occupational safety solution.

Our systems have been developed to help employers comply with Safe Work  Australia 2012 regulations. What our system aims to do is reduce the time, money and effort that you will have to invest in developing and maintaining your WHS management system to the specific needs of your business.

Visit the Occupational Safety Solutions website or Contact Us for further information on the new Safe Work Australia Legislation.

Become compliant with Safe Work Australia Legislation today!

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