Australia: What has happened to Australian work health and safety laws since 2012?
The harmonisation of work health and safety laws across most jurisdictions in Australia commenced in 2012.
In 2018, Safe Work Australia appointed Ms Marie Boland, former Executive Director of Safe Work South Australia, to conduct an independent review of these work health and safety laws. As part of her review, Ms Boland considered the following questions:
- What currently works and why?
- Will it continue to work as work practices and environments evolve?
- What doesn’t work and why?
- What could we do to make it work?
Ms Boland made 34 recommendations as part of the review, relating to various matters, including the legislative framework, duties of care, consultation, representation and participation processes and prosecutions and legal proceedings.
Ms Boland stated that the current three-tier framework (WHS Act, WHS Regulations and model Codes) is generally effective and widely supported. An immediate consideration Ms Boland has recommended is to make model WHS Regulations which deal with psychological health.
As the law evolves in this area, it is important for businesses and their directors and other officers in Australia to be cognisant of their ongoing obligations to their workers and other people. Norman Waterhouse Lawyers has extensive experience in work health and safety matters in Australia.
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