Western Australian Government Releases Consultation Draft WHS
The Western Australian (WA) Government has introduced its long
awaited Work Health and Safety Bill 2014 (Bill) and is currently
seeking public feedback on the draft legislation.
WorkSafe WA Commissioner Lex McCulloch said that the Bill
includes the core provisions of the model WHS Bill, but it has been
refined to maintain the compliance burden at an acceptable level,
"reduce red tape, and ensure it is in the best interests of WA
The model provisions that have been excluded from the Bill
provisions that allow for health and safety representatives to
direct the cessation of unsafe work
clauses allowing unions to enter a workplace with a WHS entry
provisions placing the burden of proof on those that have been
accused of discriminatory conduct.
The draft Bill includes the same maximum penalties as the model
WHS laws despite the WA Government indicating in the past that it
would not adopt the high maximum fines contained in the model WHS
The public comment period closes on 30 January 2015.
Western Australia is the second last Australian jurisdiction to
introduce the model Bill.
Victoria is the only other State that has not tabled the
Changes to the Australian Government Building and Construction
Work Health and Safety Accreditation Scheme
From 1 January 2015, employers will no longer be required to
obtain AS/NZS 4801:2001 (AS 4801) certification before tendering
for Commonwealth construction projects.
This has been announced ahead of a plan to free up the Federal
Safety Commissioner to target unsafe companies, to cut red tape,
boost competition and ensure safety standards are enhanced.
Under the current Australian Government Building and
Construction OHS Accreditation Scheme (Accreditation Scheme), it is
a requirement that a company's work health and safety
management system (SMS) has been certified to AS 4801 (or the
equivalent international standard) by an accredited certification
body before accreditation can be considered.
AS 4801 establishes an audit framework principally for use by
third party bodies that are asked by an organisation to conduct an
independent audit of the organisation's SMS.
The move was originally flagged in February by a Department of
Employment discussion paper and report published in June which
highlighted that the Accreditation Scheme's requirements
already incorporate AS 4801 requirements and are, therefore,
It has been suggested that the certification requirement creates
a barrier to entry for small builders because the duplicative
accreditation criteria creates unnecessary delays, increases costs
and involves unnecessary red tape that adds no value to the audit
Removing the prerequisite will allow the Office of the Federal
Safety Commissioner to better focus on underperforming builders,
ensure timely compliance audits and save building companies seeking
Scheme accreditation may months of time and thousands of
However, it will still be important to be aware of the
standards. While Codes of Practice, Australian Standards, and
mining regulator's guidelines are not legal documents, these
documents provide guidelines for companies and builders who wish to
be accredited and also act as an important advisory tool. These
documents are also regularly tendered in evidence to support a
prosecution's case and supplement expert evidence for a breach
of any respective safety law.
Other key changes coming into force from 1 January 2015
exempting Commonwealth funded projects involving single
dwelling houses from requiring the use of an accredited company in
order to increase competition and enable smaller builders to
permitting unaccredited builders to undertake Commonwealth
funded work when they are in a joint venture with an accredited
company and operate under the partner's accredited systems
increased site audits
the introduction of a risk-based compliance model will be
introduced so that more audit resources and support can be directed
to companies that require further improvement
giving high performing companies the opportunity to be
accredited for up to six years, with a more streamlined
reaccreditation process to minimise paperwork and compliance
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
K&L Gates has been awarded a 2012 EOWA Employer of Choice
for Women citation acknowledging our commitment to workplace
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
Long experience representing many of Australia's leading employers has taught us that in employment litigation the identity of an employee's representative is a major factor in how employee litigation runs.
Australian employees receive certain entitlements (such as annual leave and superannuation) where contractors do not.
Some comments from our readers… “The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable” “I often find critical information not available elsewhere” “As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).