About the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984
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Safety and health in Western Australian workplaces is regulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 (the OSH Act) and the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996 (the OSH regulations) supported by codes of practice and guidance notes.
What is the OSH Act?
The Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 provides for the promotion, co-ordination, administration and enforcement of occupational safety and health in Western Australia.
The OSH Act places certain duties of care for safety and health at the workplace on employers, principal/main contractors, sub-contractors, people involved in labour hire, employees, self-employed people, manufacturers, designers, importers and suppliers. It also places emphasis in the duties of care on the prevention of accidents and injury or harm.
In addition to the broad duties established by the OSH Act, the legislation is supported by a further tier of statute, commonly referred to as regulations, together with a lower tier of non-statutory codes of practice and guidance notes.
How can I meet my obligations?
You should refer to a copy of the OSH Act so as to make yourself familiar with your duty of care for safety and health at the workplace.
Under the OSH Act, there are three types of instruments to help you meet your workplace health and safety obligations - regulations, Australian Standards/Australian/New Zealand Standards and codes of practice.
If a regulation exists about a risk, you must comply with the regulation before any code of practice or guidance note.
If an Australian Standard or Australian/New Zealand Standard, or part of a standard is referred to in a regulation, the standard or relevant part of the standard must be complied with.
If there is no regulation about a risk but there is a code of practice or guidance note, you must either:
- do what the code of practice or guidance note says; or
- adopt and follow another way that gives the same level of protection against the risk.
If there is no regulation or code of practice about the risk, you must choose an appropriate way and take reasonable precautions and exercise proper diligence to ensure you meet your obligations.
View the OSH Act
The State Law Publisher provides an electronic copy of the Act. The State Law Publisher progressively amends its documents to include any legislative changes. This usually occurs a week or two from the time the amendments appear in the Government Gazette.
You may download or print this legislation free of charge, however, please note that this is not a legal document and as such can not be used in a court of law.
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