Safe Work Australia makes amendments to model WHS laws

The following article is a news item provided for the benefit of the Workplace Health and Safety profession. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Institute of Health & Safety.
Sunday, 12 June, 2022 - 12:45
Policy & legislation
National News

Safe Work Australia recently updated the model WHS laws based on recommendations from the 2018 Review of the model WHS laws.

The updates include the model WHS Act and explanatory memorandum as well as the model WHS regulations and explanatory statement.

The amendments do not automatically apply in practice, as they must first be enacted and codified into law by states and territories before they could come into effect.

Safe Work Australia made amendments to:

  • the model WHS Regulations to deal with psychosocial risks (recommendation 2)
  • work group provisions (recommendation 7b)
  • health and safety representative training (recommendation 10)
  • remove the 24-hour notice period for entry permit holders (recommendation 15)
  • align the process for issuing service of notices to provide clarity and consistency (recommendation 16)
  • enable inspectors to require the production of documents and answers to questions within 30 days of any inspector’s entry to a workplace (recommendation 17)
  • clarify that a WHS regulator’s power to obtain information relevant to investigations of potential breaches of the model WHS laws has extra-territorial application (recommendation 18)
  • clarify the circumstances in which WHS regulators can share information between jurisdictions (recommendation 19)
  • include gross negligence as a fault element in the Category 1 offence (recommendation 23a)
  • improve regulator accountability for investigation progress (recommendation 24)
  • prohibit insurance for WHS penalties (recommendation 26)
  • improve record-keeping and operator training for amusement devices and passenger ropeways (recommendation 28)
  • compliance with standards not mandatory unless specified (recommendation 31b)

For more information please read the implementation of the WHS ministers’ agreed response to the review of the model WHS laws.