SA Suspends Safety Codes That Don’t Work

Construction siteSouth Australia has announced the suspension of three workplace safety codes of practice that have been highly criticised by businesses and the State Government’s own advisers.

Industrial Relations Minister John Rau announced the move saying the codes were difficult to understand and had the unintended effect of driving up costs.

The codes of conduct are additional documents based on the WHS legislation and aim to better explain how businesses can comply with safety laws. They came into force on January 1, 2013.

Mr Rau has suspended the “construction work”, “preventing falls in housing construction” and “safe design of structures” codes of practice. They will now be reviewed.

“We have been told by the housing industry that the prescriptive requirements of these codes of practice have placed financial burdens on business that may be resulting additional costs to homebuyers,” Mr Rau said.

“I have had discussions with builders in recent weeks who have told me as much.”

He said employers were still required to maintain safe workplaces.

“That remains the law,” he said.

“The codes are designed to assist in guiding compliance with the law without detriment to workers’ safety or cost to employers’ or homebuyers.

“The current codes appear not to have achieved this objective.”

Mr Sinkunas reported that many businesses found it “impossible” to comply with the regulations.

“Many smaller businesses believe that, in a practical sense, it is almost impossible for them to comply with the WHS regulations and codes of practice already in place,” he writes.

“It would seem appropriate now to further develop information sheets and guidance notes for various industry sectors to understand the basic elements of the codes (of practice).

“The biggest impact to small businesses appears to be the additional financial costs to day-to-day operations to ensure compliance with the Act and regulations.”

Housing industry commentators say the industry is still “committed to having the safest sites that we can achieve”.

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