Jo Kitney from Kitney OHS has this to say about the new government’s proposed changes to legislation
On 7 May 2015, the Queensland Government introduced the Work Health and Safety and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2015. The objectives of the Bill are to deliver on the Palaszczuk Government’s election commitments as part of their Improving Safety for Queenslanders’ at Work Policy.
This means that several of the previous Government’s 2014 amendments to Qld’s Work Health and Safety Act 2011 will be reversed, including:
- Restoring right of entry powers for WHS entry permit holders to gain immediate access to a workplace to inquire into a suspected contravention of the WHS Act
- Empowering trained health and safety representatives (HSR) to direct workers to cease unsafe work
- Requiring employers to notify the WHS Regulator when a worker is absent for more than four days due to a workplace injury
- Re-instating the Electrical Safety Commissioner, Electrical Safety Education Committee and Electrical Equipment Committee which were abolished in 2012
Submissions on the Bill
The Bill has been referred to the Finance and Administration Committee which invites submissions on any aspects of the Bill by 4 pm on Monday, 5 June 2015. The Committee’s website has guidelines for making a submission.
Implications of the Bill
Queensland is likely to see a swing back to a more union friendly industrial relations system with bolstered rights for workers, increased union activity, Regulatory reporting for injury resulting in absences of 4 days or more and increased oversight and education for electrical safety.
Not all businesses and organisations will be affected by the proposed amendments. Organisations that may be are encouraged to evaluate the Bill and make a submission where they have concerns about the proposed reforms.