The Queensland Government has now passed the Work
Health and Safety and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2015
The WHS Bill reinstates some right of entry powers that were
previously held by work health and safety representatives until
their powers were scaled back by the Newman Government in 2014.
The Bill has amended the Work Health and Safety Act
2011 (WHS Act) to:
remove the requirement for permit holders to provide 24
hours' notice of entry to investigate a suspected contravention
of the WHS Act, allowing permit holders to gain immediate
allow training health and safety representatives to direct
workers to cease unsafe work;
remove the penalty for failing to provide notice of entry to
inquire into a suspected contravention of the WHS Act (which is a
departure from the current national model WHS laws);
decrease the maximum penalty for contravening WHS entry permit
conditions from 200 penalty units (currently $23,560) to 100
penalty units (currently $11,780);
reinstate the requirement from the repealed Workplace
Health and Safety Act 1995 for the regulator to be notified of
workplace injuries that result in a worker being off work for more
than four days; and
reinstate the Electrical Safety Commissioner, Electrical Safety
Education Committee and Electrical Equipment Committee.
The changes represent the implementation of an election
commitment from the Palaszczuk Government as part of their
Improving Safety for Queenslanders at Work Policy.
However, changes are viewed as a backwards step for some
employers and employer groups, who feel that for some time, unions
have used safety issues as a mechanism to apply pressure on
employers when seeking other industrial agendas.
The amendment to reinstate the Electrical Safety Commissioner,
Electrical Safety Education Committee and Electrical Equipment
Committee is yet to commence as the Government makes appropriate
appointments for these roles.
The other abovementioned amendments are already in force.
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An employee that refused a reasonable offer of settlement was ordered by the FWC to pay his ex-employer's legal costs.
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