Queensland businesses should review their right of entry
protocols and update them to ensure they reflect legislative
The Labor Government in Queensland has succeeded in its first
wave of industrial relations reforms, restoring the right of:
WHS permit holders to enter a workplace for suspected safety
breaches, without notice; and
elected health and safety representative to direct workers to
cease unsafe work.
The reforms in the
Work Health and Safety and Other Legislation Amendment Bill
2015 will commence on a date to be fixed by proclamation, but
Queensland employers should be getting ready for them now.
Employers take steps to ensure they have in place processes to
guard against misuse of the provisions by unions seeking to disrupt
sites by alleging unparticularised and unsubstantiated safety
How the restored right of entry will work
The new laws essentially provide permit holders the immediate
right of entry to enter a workplace where there are suspected
safety concerns, as opposed to 24 hours' notice. WHS entry
permit holders need only give notice as soon as is reasonably
practicable after entering the workplace.
The laws also removed the penalty for failure to give the
required notice of entry to inquire into suspected contraventions
of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld), inspect employee
records or information and to consult and advise workers and
reduced the penalty for contravening WHS entry permit conditions
from 200 to 100 penalty units.
Stop work directions
Health and safety representatives also have the right to direct
a worker in their work group to cease work, if the representative
has a reasonable concern that to carry out the work would expose
the worker to a serious risk to the worker's health or safety,
emanating from an immediate or imminent exposure to a hazard.
However before doing so, the representative must first consult
about the matter with the person conducting the business or
undertaking (unless the risk is so serious and immediate or
imminent that it is not reasonable to consult before giving the
Electrical safety committees
The Electrical Safety Commissioner, the Electrical Safety
Education Committee and the Electrical Equipment Committee have
also been reinstated.
Getting ready for the revived rights of entry
Your business can prepare now, so that you can proactively
manage disruptions caused by an abuse of the rights under the new
The first step is to review your right of entry protocols and
update them to ensure they reflect legislative requirements. This
may include preparing to seek the assistance of the regulator if
there is a dispute over a right of entry dispute, for example, if
the WHS entry permit holder did not reasonably suspect a
contravention before entering the workplace.
You should also:
commence consultation with health and safety representatives in
relation to the changes;
consider whether training in dealing with right of entry issues
is required; and
ensure that workers are aware of the HSR's right to direct
workers to cease unsafe work and their obligation to comply with
If you would like further information or assistance in updating
or developing your right of entry protocols please contact us.
Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide
commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon
as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular
transactions or on matters of interest arising from this bulletin.
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