Workplace Health and Safety Harmonisation
Safe Work Australia is a federal government body that has been tasked to develop harmonised Workplace Health and Safety legislation across all states and territory's in Australia to replace the various different Occupational Safety and Health Acts and Regulations that exist in each state.
There was a target for this harmonised legislation to be in effect across all of Australia by 1st January 2012 but various states including Western Australia have stated that they are not ready and as such have not passed the necessary state legislation to make it occur. Hence WA is still running under the existing Occupational Safety and Health Act and Regulations.
There are some people stating that the new harmonised Workplace Health and Safety legislation will bring about massive changes and that this will cost industry a lot of money to implement the required changes. In reality this is not true as there are few significant changes in the requirements between the existing Occupational Safety and Health Act and Regulations and the new Workplace Health and Safety Act and Regulations.
Essentially if an organisation is compliant with the requirements of the existing Occupational Safety and Health Act and Regulations then they will be compliant with the new Workplace Health and Safety Act and Regulations. Where some cost may occur is an organisation becoming aware of a non compliance to either the existing or new legislations. An example would be having an MSDS register which is a requirement of the current OSH Act.
The only significant changes are in layout where some items will move from the existing Act to the new Regulations and vice-versa as well as the establishment of additional Codes of Practice but this is a positive step as they provide clear guidance on how industry can comply.
The only other significant change are terminologies such as::
- "Employer" will become "Person in charge of the workplace or undertaking"
- "Employee" will become "Worker"
So the above may mean updates to your policies and procedures but the changes could be made during scheduled reviews.
More importantly, if your organisation is not currently compliant with the existing Occupational Safety and Health Act and Regulations then you will not be compliant with the new Workplace Health and Safety Act and Regulations. If that is the case then we can help.
Remember that if you meet the criteria set by WorkSafe (WA) and employ less than 20 full time employees then we can provide a free 3 hour OSH assessment via WorkSafe WA ThinkSafe Small Business Assistance Program. Click here for more details.
Please Contact Us to assist you with any required changes to your Safety Management System to suit the new Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) Act and Regulations.