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30 Nov 11
New Queensland WHS Regulations and Codes of Practice - are you ready?

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Workplace health and safety specialist, Partner, Cameron Dean issues a timely reminder and details the new and transitional provisions.

As part of the ongoing harmonisation of work health and safety (WHS) laws, the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (Qld) (2011 WHS Regulation) received approval by the Governor in Council on 24 November 2011.

The 2011 WHS Regulation covers a broad range of topics, including workplace representation and participation, general risk and workplace management, hazardous work, plant and structures, construction work, hazardous chemicals, asbestos, major hazard facilities and public health and safety.

While the transitional arrangements will mean a delayed start for some requirements, the 2011 WHS Regulation will largely come into effect on the same date as the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld) (2011 WHS Act), being 1 January 2012.

Further to the introduction of 2011 WHS Regulation, the Workplace Relations Ministers’ Council has approved the first phase model Codes of Practice. These approved model Codes of Practice will also commence in Queensland from 1 January 2012. Other Queensland Codes of Practice will continue to be operational until replaced by a model Code of Practice at some time in the future.

This means that businesses have limited time between now and 1 January 2012 to:

  • review and, where required, amend their current WHS arrangements to ensure they will be ready to comply with the new 2011 WHS Regulation
  • consider what changes may be required to meet the standards imposed under the new Codes of Practice, and
  • otherwise ensure that the 2011 WHS Act requirements will be met. 

For a summary of the new and transitional provisions, covering the subject areas, key points and commencement dates, please click here.

Codes of Practice

Safe Work Australia has released the first phase of model Codes of Practice approved by the Workplace Relations Ministers’ Council for commencement on 1 January 2012. 

Failing to comply with a Code of Practice does not of itself mean that a prosecution will ensue. However, it may be evidence of a failure to discharge duties under the 2011 WHS Act if it cannot be shown that the departure from the Code of Conduct imposed a WHS standard to an equivalent or higher level than the Code of Practice requirements.

The first phase of model Codes of Practice are:

  • How to Manage Work Health and Safety Risks
  • Consulting Workers and Consulting, Cooperating and Coordinating with Others on Work Health and Safety matters
  • Managing the Work Environment and Facilities
  • Managing Noise and Preventing Hearing Loss at Work
  • Hazardous Manual Tasks
  • Confined Spaces
  • How to Manage and Control Asbestos in the Workplace
  • How to Safely Remove Asbestos
  • How to Prevent Falls at Workplaces
  • Labelling of Workplace Hazardous Chemicals, and
  • Preparation of Safety Data Sheets for Hazardous Chemicals.

The Safe Work Australia website contains more information about these Codes of Practice:  http://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/Legislation/AdministrativeRegulations/Pages/Model%20work%20health%20and%20safety%20Regulations.aspx

While the model Codes of Practice will replace some current Queensland Codes of Practice, other current Queensland Codes of Practice will continue to apply after 1 January 2012 as they are not being immediately replaced by model Codes of Practice.  These are Codes of Practice about:

  • Sugar Industry
  • Cash in Transit
  • Horse Riding Schools, Trail Riding Establishments and Horse Hiring Establishments
  • Children and Young Workers
  • Foundry Work
  • Manual Tasks Involving the Handling of People
  • Concrete Pumping
  • Steel Construction
  • Tunnelling
  • Formwork
  • Scaffolding
  • Tower Cranes
  • Mobile Cranes
  • Traffic Management for Construction or Maintenance Work
  • Abrasive Blasting
  • Plant
  • Safe Design and Operation of Tractors
  • Rural Plant
  • First Aid
  • Forest Harvesting
  • Hazardous Substances
  • Occupational Diving, and
  • Prevention of Workplace Harassment.

The Workplace Health and Safety Queensland website contains more information about these Codes of Practice:  http://www.deir.qld.gov.au/workplace/law/whslaws/legislation/codes/index.htm#commence

 

Focus covers legal and technical issues in a general way. It is not designed to express opinions on specific cases. Focus is intended for information purposes only and should not be regarded as legal advice. Further advice should be obtained before taking action on any issue dealt with in this publication.

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