Update On National OHS Laws

Source: Safety Concepts

The public comment period for the draft model Work Health and Safety Regulations and 12 draft model Codes of Practice closed on 4 April 2011 and Safe Work Australia is currently reviewing over 1300 submissions made across Australia.

Issues raised in these submissions are being considered by jurisdictions and employer and union representatives, with plans for a final package of model Work Health and Safety regulations to be considered by ministers in June 2011.

Additional model Codes of Practice being developed by Safe Work Australia will also be released for public comment.

These include:

  • a range of construction codes (eg scaffolding, demolition, tilt up construction, falls in housing construction)
  • forest safety
  • first aid
  • abrasive blasting
  • chemicals risk management
  • welding
  • traffic management
  • spray painting.

A model Work Health and Safety Bill has been developed and agreed under the Inter-Governmental Agreement forRegulatory and Operational Reform in Occupational Health and Safety and the Queensland Work Health and Safety Bill was introduced into the Queensland Parliament on 10 May 2011.

The harmonised Work Health and Safety laws are scheduled to start on 1 January 2012 and it is anticipated that many of the model Codes of Practice will also start at the same time.

Be sure to keep an eye out for our regular updates in the coming months which will provide businesses the opportunity to find out more about the new laws and how to prepare for the transition to a harmonised system.