This week’s article looks at the recent changes to the Model Work Health and Safety Laws. These changes come as a result of a review conducted in 2018 known as the Boland Review. Safe Work Australia appointed Marie Boland, the former Executive Director of SafeWork SA, to conduct the first independent review of the model Work Health and Safety laws. The changes do not automatically apply in a jurisdiction (Australian state), but over a period of time, it is expected that each jurisdiction will ratify each change, with a number of them having already been enshrined across various Australian jurisdictions.
So, what are the changes?
You might recall a few weeks back, we discussed new regulations to deal with psychosocial risks and what businesses need to do to prepare. The legislation now adds the following:
- An updated Code for WH&S consultation, cooperation and coordination that provides practical examples of how to consult with workers and
- New arrangements for HSR and work groups in small businesses
- the 24-hour notice period for WHS entry permit holders is removed
- Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) now have a choice of training course
- a process for resolving disputes about WHS issues and providing practical examples of how an issues resolution process works
- the ability for inspectors to request documents and be given answers to questions for up to 30 days as well as enabling access to, and cross border sharing of, WHS information for safety regulators
- the inclusion of gross negligence as an element of a Category 1 offence under the Act (i.e. an offence relating to a person engaging in conduct that exposes an individual to whom a duty is owed to a risk of death or serious injury) and
- prohibiting insurance against WHS penalties.
For a full list of the amendments, visit the Safe Work Australia website at: https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/law-and-regulation/model-whs-laws/implementation-whs-ministers-agreed-response-review-model-whs-laws
How can your business prepare?
- Keep up to date with changes to WHS laws in the states and territories in which your business operates
- Review our prior article for suggestions on preparing to manage psychosocial risk
- Review insurance arrangements where WHS penalties are included and adjust as necessary
- Review your WHS system to ensure you can meet an obligation to provide a WHS inspector with your WHS documentation if directed
- Review your consultation processes in line with the new Model Code
- Provide training to managers and workers on how disputes about WHS can be resolved
Business 360 provides a range of Fact Sheets to help you get prepared for these changes. Contact us for a copy of our fact sheets on “Work Health and Safety” and “Work Health and Safety Management Plans”. If your business needs assistance to create a WHS System or to provide WHS training to your staff call us on 1300 287 360 or email email@example.com. If you would prefer a confidential discussion with one of our directors, scan or click below to book a time to discuss your needs.