What is a code of practice?

A code of practice is a document prepared to provide practical guidance on how to comply with a general duty or specific duties under Western Australian occupational safety and health laws.  

A code of practice may include explanatory information, recommendations for best practice, or references to occupational safety and health laws. While duty holders must comply with the underlying  occupational safety and health laws, the preventative strategies outlined do not represent the only acceptable means of achieving a certain standard.

A code of practice does not have the same legal force as a regulation and is not sufficient reason, of itself, for prosecution under the Act.

Codes of practice are developed by the Commission for Occupational Safety and Health (the Commission). 

Codes of practice:

  • should be followed, unless there is another solution which achieves the same or better result; and 
  • can be used to support prosecution for non-compliance.

Development of industry codes of practice

The Commission welcomes the development of industry codes of practice that contain information which is technically and legally correct thereby enhancing standards of occupational safety and health within their industry. Guidelines have been prepared to assist with the development of industry codes of practice that are to be submitted for approval under section 57 of the Act. 

National codes of practice and other jurisdictions

Codes of practice approved in other jurisdictions may provide useful guidance to assist employers and workers to improve safety practices, particularly in relation to hazards not covered by Western Australian codes. However, they should be used with caution as they do not have the same evidentiary status as Commission codes of practice and may recommend practices that are not compliant with Western Australian occupational safety and health laws.

Click on a link below to be transferred to other jurisdiction websites to view their codes of practice:

Australian Standards

Australian standards are available for purchase through SAI Global, or may be viewed at WorkSafe’s library.

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