Further consultation on the harmonised (general) WHS
The introduction of the general industry Work Health and
Safety Bill (WHS Bill) in Western Australia is likely to be
further delayed, following the State Government's call for
further public consultation on the WHS Regulations before the WHS
Bill is presented to parliament. WA remains the only state other
than Victoria (whose current legislation forms the basis for the
model legislation) that is yet to adopt the harmonised laws.
Following the announcement of the latest consultation, the
Government has recommended businesses don't start training on
the WHS Bill, as the proposed Regulations could differ
significantly from the national model. There are also plans for a
transitional period in which businesses can implement policies
under the new legislation before it is enforceable. WorkSafe WA
Commissioner, Lex McCulloch, has stated the WHS Regulations will be
scrutinised to identify where modifications can be made to minimise
prescription, reduce red tape and provide the most effective
framework for WA's unique work environment.
The WHS Bill differs from the model legislation in that health
and safety representatives will not have power to direct unsafe
work to cease. The WHS Bill also does not provide for entry permits
or include the reverse burden of proof on those accused of
Harmonised WHS mining and resources legislation on track
The WHS (Resources) Bill (WA) (Resources Bill) is
projected to be imminently introduced, and is on track to take
effect from 1 January 2017. The Resources Bill will unify safety
legislation for mining, petroleum and major hazard facilities under
one regulator, the Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP). As a
result, six Acts will be consolidated into one and the
responsibility for major hazard facilities will be transferred from
WorkSafe WA to DMP.
In February, the DMP released a Decision Regulatory Impact
Statement on the draft Resources Bill, which recommended that:
the Resources Bill use the same definition of "reasonably
practicable" that is in the model WHS Acts to maintain
consistency of terms across different jurisdictions
the DMP continue to work in consultation with the Department of
Commerce to ensure the Resources Bill and WHS Bill align
prosecutions for breaches of the legislation begin within two
years after the regulator is first notified of the offence, which
is a reduction from the current legislation's three-year
the Resources Bill should ensure the duties imposed on PCBUs (a
person or an organisation conducting a business or undertaking)
that design, manufacture, import or supply plant, substances or
structures, cannot be interpreted as retrospective, and
an obligation be placed on officers of a corporation to
exercise due diligence and that individuals who are in control of
safety budgets, such as Chief Financial Officers, are likely to
fall within the definition of officers under the proposed
The WHS (Resources) Regulations will be open for a consultation
period and it is proposed the Regulations will be gazetted by 1
December 2016. The Resources Regulations will contain generic
provisions, as well as sector-specific aspects to cover different
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.
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