Update on Work Health and Safety laws consultation

WorkSafe WA Commissioner Lex McCulloch today (16/12/2015) provided information on the current status of the consultation process and development of the Work Health and safety (WHS) laws.

“In August 2014, the State Government announced that it intended to craft the best version of the national legislation, adapted and suited to the Western Australian work environment,” Mr McCulloch said.

“The Western Australian version of the model WHS laws (known as “the Green Bill”) was put out for public comment for a period ending earlier this year, and 50 submissions were received.

“The submissions identified areas of potential improvement, so it was decided that some further modifications were required as a result of the feedback process.

“While the Act provides the overarching principles of workplace safety laws, the Regulations provide the more specific details for the various industries and procedures.

“WorkSafe will be undertaking a review of the model WHS Regulations to identify where they can be modified to minimise prescription and reduce red tape, keeping the burden of compliance at an acceptable level.

“The continued development of the laws – and particularly the Regulations – will also involve close consultation with the Department of Mines and Petroleum to ensure compatibility across all WA workplaces.

“Once the review of the Regulations is complete, a public consultation process will take place so all participants in WA workplaces will have the opportunity to have input into the new legal framework.

“After all those processes are completed and any necessary Cabinet approval is obtained, the new laws will be introduced into Parliament for consideration and passage.

“Regulations based on the new laws will not be in effect until the new Act is passed and proclaimed, and any necessary interim Regulations will be introduced only after full consultation and widespread advertising.

“It is important that businesses should not rush into undertaking any training at this stage in anticipation of the new laws.

“Not only is the final form of the new laws not settled, but their implementation will be coupled with transition periods to ensure that everyone involved will be able to adopt the new framework in a seamless manner.

“Finally, I’d like to thank everyone who made a valuable contribution to workplace safety in WA by providing a submission on the WHS Green Bill.”

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