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News Bulletin : ADA News Bulletin November 2011
28 NOVEMBER 2011 BE AWARE nOT ALARmED new work health and safety legislation Are you aware that from 1 January 2012, occupational health and safety (OHS) legislation will be ‘harmonised’ in order to create uniformity in legislation in setting Australian safety standards through the Model Work Health Safety (WHS) legislation? Each State and Territory has agreed to harmonise their work and safety laws, including Regulations and Codes of Practices to ensure similarity in each jurisdiction. Each jurisdiction will go through the process of enacting legislation based on the model laws. The intention is to have similar laws enacted in each jurisdiction. The day-to-day running of OHS in businesses will remain the same. However, one of the significant changes is who now holds the primary duty of care. The new WHS legislation prescribes the primary duty is the responsibility of the Person Conducting the Business or Undertaking (PCBU). A PCBU could be an individual (natural person) or an incorporated body and other individual associates (Other Duty Holders). This emphasises a shift away from the employer-employee relationship to an approach that places the employer with a primary duty of care. Model OHS Codes of Practice will be developed and implemented at the same time as the model WHS Regulations. There will be 28 Codes of Practice – 12 of which will become available from 1 January 2012, and 16 which have not yet been finalised. Codes of Practice play a key role under the model legislation in providing guidance to assist PCBU to eliminate and control risks. This allows the PCBU to focus on implementing the control of hazards rather than going through the risk assessment process if a control is known. The Codes of Practice provide guidance only and are not mandatory. However, Codes can be used in court proceedings as evidence to determine that they had eliminated or controlled the risk so far as was reasonable practicable. COdES Of PRACTICE TO bE InTROdUCEd The Codes of Practice soon to be introduced will include: • How to Manage Work Health and Safety Risks; • How to Consult on Work Health and Safety; • Managing the Work Environment and Facilities; • Managing Noise and preventing Hearing Loss at Work; • Hazardous Manual Tasks; • Confined spaces; • How to Prevent Falls at Work; • Labelling of Workplace Hazardous Substances; • Preparation of Safety Data Sheets for Hazardous Chemicals; • Chemicals; • Electricity; • First aid; • Fatigue; • Bullying; • Blood borne pathogens; • Vibration. HOW TO PREPARE fOR THE UPCOMInG CHAnGES fROM 1 JAnUARY 2012 The new OHS legislation (now WHS legislation) will result in particular changes and all employers and persons conducting a business or undertaking should ensure they have processes in place to comply with their current day-to-day management of OHS, as well as to prepare for the new changes. Employers and managers should ensure due diligence by providing appropriate safety management systems and ensuring that all staff members are properly informed of the coming changes to OHS. CHECKLIST fOR PCbUs • Ensure all employees and persons involved with the management or control of the workplace are familiar with the new OHS obligations by attending training on the legislation, if and when it is available, being offered by the State WorkCover regulator or department; • Develop processes for consultation and representation; • Review and audit workplace policies and procedures; • Implement training and ongoing review; • Review workplace contracts and agreements especially with outside parties, in particular, contractors; • Develop and update the dispute resolution processes to allow labour-hire workers, volunteers and contractors to raise any concerns to OHS; • Introduce processes to facilitate union right of entry; • Implement clear procedures for carrying out and documenting risk assessments and complying with risk management obligations. Before acting on any of the information in this article, please contact the friendly team at the ADA HR Advisory Service on: Phone: 1300 ADA INC (1300 232 462) Fax: 02 8448 3299 Email: email@example.com The ADA HR Advisory Service is available from 8.30 am–5.30 pm (AEST) Monday to Friday. ‘The answer could be just a phone call away’
ADA News Bulletin October 2011
ADA News Bulletin December 2011