Safe Work Australia have opened the consultation period for the review of the model WHS laws, and have posed 37 questions for public discussion. The regulatory body is encouraging submissions from businesses, workers, regulators, and anyone with an interest in the model WHS laws.
Marie Boland, the independent reviewer leading the public consultation process on behalf of Safe Work Australia, said she wanted to know “what is working, what doesn’t work, and whether the laws have resulted in any unintended consequences.”
“The discussion paper poses a number of questions about key parts of the laws we are particularly keen to explore, including the duties framework, penalties regime, the compliance and enforcement scheme, and consultation, participation and issue resolution provisions.”
Safe Work Australia Chair, Diane Smith-Gander, reiterated the importance of stakeholders contributing to the process. “Work health and safety is something that affects all workers. No matter what industry you work in or what part you play in your workplace, I encourage you to have a voice.”
The model WHS laws were developed to harmonise the existing regulation of WHS in each Australian jurisdiction. The Commonwealth, the ACT, NSW, the NT, and QLD all enacted the model in 2012, with SA and Tasmania following in 2013. Victoria and WA are yet to implement the model.
Some key questions up for discussion relate to:
The effectiveness of the three-tiered approach in achieving the object of the model WHS laws
The management of risks to psychological health in the workplace
Any remaining, emerging or re-emerging WHS hazards or risks that are not effectively covered by the model WHS legislation
The definition of PCBU, the meaning of ‘reasonably practicable’, and the definition of ‘worker’
The application of the WHS consultation duties relating to a supply chain network
Whether inspectors’ powers are appropriate or sufficient for ensuring compliance with the WHS Act
You can contribute by making an official written submission or participating in forum discussions, here. Written submissions must be made by Friday 13 April 2018.