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WHS (OHS) harmonisation update - Jan 2012

WHS (OHS) harmonisation update - Jan 2012

Over 1200 submissions were made to Safe Work Australia recently as part of the public comment process for the draft model Work Health and Safety Regulations and 12 draft model industry codes of practice.

Employer groups, industry associations and unions were given time to review issues raised during the public comment process The final drafts of the model Work Health and Safety Regulations were considered by the Workplace Relations Ministers Council in June 2011.

Model codes of practice relating to the construction industry, plant and hazardous chemicals and working with electricity were released for public comment in September 2011 and are to be released in January 2012.

They include:

· managing risks in construction work

· excavation work

· demolition work

· tilt-up and precast concrete in building construction

· falls in housing construction

· safe design of building and structures

· safe design of plant

· how to manage risks of plant in the workplace

· traffic management - construction

· traffic management - non-construction

· managing electrical risks at the workplace

· working in the vicinity of overhead electric lines

· working with underground electrical services

· first aid

· health monitoring

· abrasive blasting

· managing risks of hazardous chemicals

· welding

· spray painting and powder coating

· heritage plant

· forest safety

· arborists.

Slated also are additional codes of practice for release in January 2012.

As at January 2012, only NSW, Qld, NT, ACT and the Commonwealth have adopted the new harmonised Work Health and Safety Act 2011 with Tasmania set for January 2013 and Victoria and Western Australia looking possibly at implementing close to that time. However, the 4 non-harmonised states (VIC, TAS, SA and WA) maintain their existing OH&S regimes, which in some instances are stronger than the WHS Act 2011.

The undeniable conclusion is that all Australian businesses and organisations that employ at least one person MUST HAVE a live Work Health Safety system. Doing nothing is not an option.