Model Work Health and Safety Regulations and Codes of Practice Update

Safe Work Australia has reviewed over 1300 submissions made as part of the public comment period for the draft model Work Health and Safety Regulations and 12 draft model codes of practice.

Issues raised in these submissions were considered by jurisdictions and employer and union representatives. Plans for the final package of model Work Health and Safety regulations were considered by the Workplace Relations Ministers Council in June 2011. WHSQ will distribute an eSafe special in September, dedicated to the national harmonisation of WHS laws and including articles on the regulations.

Second stage model codes of practice that support the implementation of the construction, electricity, plant and hazardous chemicals model regulations are being developed by Safe Work Australia and will be released for public comment in September 2011. It is intended that these codes be completed by 1 January 2012. They include:

  • managing risks in construction work
  • excavation work
  • demolition work
  • tilt-up and precast concrete in building construction
  • falls in housing construction
  • safe design of building and structures
  • safe design of plant
  • how to manage risks of plant in the workplace
  • traffic management – construction
  • traffic management – non-construction
  • managing electrical risks at the workplace
  • working in the vicinity of overhead electric lines and underground electrical services
  • first aid
  • health monitoring
  • abrasive blasting
  • managing risks of hazardous chemicals
  • welding
  • spray painting and powder coating
  • heritage plant
  • forest safety
  • arborists.

Additional codes of practice are proposed for release post January 2012. A number of current Queensland construction codes will remain in place until this time. They include:

  • concrete pumping
  • scaffolding
  • steel construction
  • tunneling.

Transitional arrangements

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland has made arrangements to help ensure a smooth transition to the new laws commencing on 1 January 2012.

A fact sheet summarises the transitional arrangements, including information on the process for continuing prosecutions, investigations, principal contractors, enforceable undertakings, asbestos class B certificate holders and codes of practice.

As of 1 July 2011 all fees for earthmoving or particular crane (EPC) certificates have been waived as it is anticipated that these certificates will not be required from 1 January 2012 under harmonised work health and safety laws.

These certificates cover the operation of backhoes, front end and skid steer loaders, excavators, dozers, graders, scrapers and road rollers as well as remote operation bridge and gantry cranes.

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland is preparing a range of resources to help businesses and employees prepare for the introduction of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (QLD) on 1 January 2012, including:

  • statewide information sessions during Safe Work Week in October 2011 (keep your eye on the website for registration details)
  • videos of the information session content which will be available for download from the website
  • a short video on responsibilities for executive officers under the new Act
  • a kit with information tailored for the construction industry
  • an online comparison tool highlighting the differences between the current laws and the new Queensland Act.

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland has also published an online comparison tool which highlights the differences between the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and Queensland’s current Workplace Health and Safety Act 1995.

Safety Concepts will continue to keep you updated as news comes in!

About the Author

Joanne Wallace is our resident "Safety Guru". Joanne has provided advice on safety management for the past 10 years and written hundreds of articles on safety issues and tips. Joanne has experience in many industries ranging from manufacturing, food processing, timber milling, retail, office and wholesaling providing her with knowledge and experience managing risk and injuries in these industries.

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  1. Many companies look at the demands of construction safety plans as burdens regarding time and money, yet there could be a lot of benefits when you merely embrace the idea rather than disregard it as an unwanted

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