The Western Australian government has commenced a
public consultation process on the proposed Work Health and Safety
regulations. A discussion paper has been published that invites
submissions from all Western Australians who are interested in work
health and safety, with a particular focus on the costs and
benefits of the proposed regulations to businesses and workers. The
public comment period ends on 31 August 2016.
Using the approach adopted in relation to the Work Health and
Safety Bill 2014, WorkSafe has developed recommendations to adapt
the model Work Health and Safety Regulations (Model
Regulations) with a focus on minimising prescription and
keeping the burden of compliance at an acceptable level.
Overview of proposed changes
The proposed WA Work Health and Safety Regulations
(Proposed Regulations) mirror the Model
Regulations in many respects; however, there are several keys areas
that are proposed to be modified to better suit the Western
Australian working environment.
Some areas of the Model Regulations are proposed to be amended
where there is no evidence that the likely increased compliance
burden associated with them will achieve improved safety outcomes.
These areas will be amended to more closely align them with the
current requirements of WA's Occupational Safety and Health
laws (Current Laws) and include:
the training requirements to be considered a competent
the arrangements for licensing assessors to conduct clearance
inspections for licensed asbestos removal work; and
the requirements to create and retain specified records.
Some Current Laws requirements that do not appear in the Model
Regulations are also proposed to be included in the Proposed
Regulations. These include:
a prohibition on tobacco smoke in the workplace; and
commercial vehicle driver regulations.
Not all of the provisions unique to the Current Laws have been
recommended for inclusion in the Proposed Regulations. Where
it is considered that the general duty and appropriate guidance
material is sufficient to maintain current safety standards it is
not proposed to include specific additional regulations.
Examples include the requirements for:
abrasive blasting; and
spray painting booths.
It is also anticipated that the model Codes of Practice and
other guidance material will be adopted with appropriate
More details and how to make a submission
A discussion paper is available here and includes a table of recommendations
(Appendix A) that classifies the recommendations according to
whether they are consistent with the Current Laws, reduce
unnecessary prescription or are consistent with the Work Health and
Safety Bill 2014.
This consultation process is a welcome step forward in WA's
move to modernisation. This is likely to be the final
opportunity for Western Australians to provide input into the
shaping of the regulations that will govern work health and safety
for general industry.
As the discussion paper notes, it is necessary to obtain robust
evidence of the impact of the proposed changes in the Model
Regulations, so it is important when preparing submissions to
include quantitative information where possible on the likely
benefits, impediments and/or costs of the proposed changes.
The public consultation period ends on 31 August 2016.
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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