Work Health and Safety (OHS) acts, regulations and codes of practice | hidden-facts.info
Acts and Regulations are quite different and it can be confusing knowing which is required as they often have similar titles and obviously deal with the same subject. REGULATIONS, RULES, CODES etc. are commonly known as " subsidiary legislation" and require publishing in the Government of Western Australia. Safe Work Australia was established by an Act of Parliament, with statutory health and safety legislation in each jurisdiction, follow the links to the relevant work were to be “fleshed out” with standards in regulations and codes of practice. You always need to check the currency of an Act or a Regulation. Full text database which provides links to Australian legislation hosted on.
Both Acts and regulations can specify things that are a breach of the law, and the penalties that apply when a breach is committed. An Act dictates what must be done while a regulation describes how to do it.
Legislative framework for resources safety and health
What legislation is the department responsible for? For the full list, see Legislation administered by the department. How are codes of practice and other guidance used? Codes of practice are supplementary to requirements under the Acts and regulations.
They are intended to supplement such requirements in a uniform way and, as far as possible, clarify any ambiguity or uncertainty in the Acts and regulations. Codes of practice also set out requirements and recommendations on aspects that are not explicitly covered by regulations. These requirements and recommendations are based on industry best practice and are developed in consultation with industry, unions and the public. They are usually consistent with Australian and international standards, international guides and codes, and advice from regulatory authorities.
Although codes of practice do not have the scope for fines or other prosecution actions, they may contain specific applications of the Act or regulations. Guidelines, guidance notes, the answers to frequently asked question, and other information are also published by the department to provide information relevant to a specific issue or subject.
Many are developed with input from industry, unions and other members of the public. While they are not legally binding, such guidance is created to support application of the relevant Acts and regulations and promote leading practice.
Work Health and Safety: Difference between an Act, Regulation and Code of Practice?
What is the basis for codes of practice? A code of practice is a guide to achieving the standards of occupational safety and health required under legislation. It applies to anyone who has a duty in the circumstances described in the code.
A code of practice will help those with the functions and responsibilities for managing risk in the circumstances described in the code. The code may also be used by workers and safety and health representatives who need to understand the hazards and risks associated in the circumstances described in the code. In most cases, following a code of practice would achieve compliance with the duties in the legislation in relation to the subject matter of the code. However, like regulations, codes of practice deal with particular issues and do not cover all hazards or risks that may arise.
Duty holders need to consider all risks associated with work, not only those for which regulations and codes of practice exist. Codes of practice are admissible in court proceedings.
Courts may regard a code of practice as evidence of what is known about a hazard, risk or control and may rely on the code in determining what is reasonably practicable in the circumstances to which the code relates. The principal vehicle for employee representation was to be the health and safety representative, who was, in the pure Robens model, to be consulted by employers.
Employees were also to be represented on health and safety committees. Beginning with South Australia inTasmania inVictoria and New South Waleseach of the Australian jurisdictions enacted new statutes for work health and safety. Before the s, most of the health and safety regulations in the Australian jurisdictions were contained in separate instruments, and it was not uncommon for a jurisdiction to have over a dozen sets of regulations, each covering a specific hazard or industry.
Since the mids many of the Australian regulators for work health and safety brought all relevant regulations together in one general regulation or set of consolidated regulations.
Beginning in the late s Australian regulations and codes of practice have tended to steer clear of specification standards, and instead rely on general duty requirements, performance standards, process requirements and documentation requirements. Process requirements prescribe a process, or series of steps, that must be followed by a duty holder in managing specific hazards, or work health and safety generally.
They are often used when the regulator has difficulty specifying a goal or outcome, but has confidence that the risk of illness or injury will be significantly reduced if the specified process is followed.
Most regulations now require the duty holder to identify hazards and assess and control identified risks. Process-based standards have spawned greater reliance on documentation requirements.
Some regulations require duty holders to document measures they have taken to comply with process-based standards, performance standards and general duty standards. A good example of an Australian documentation requirement is the requirement for relevant duty holders to prepare health and safety work plans prior to commencing certain kinds of construction work.
A notable development in standard setting in Australia during the s was the movement towards national uniformity in standards in regulations and codes of practice. The process was overseen by the former NOHSC, which in established a tripartite National Uniformity Taskforce, which identified several key first order priorities for achieving national uniformity: The national uniformity process was not complete when the Howard government came to power inand that government first significantly down-sized and then abolished NOHSC, with the result that the move towards national uniformity slowed dramatically after mid The need for uniformity in Australian standards was reaffirmed as a priority by the Labor government, elected in Most jurisdictions now have a balance of proactive and reactive inspections ie responses to injuries or complaints.
Legislation, policies, standards and advice
Some inspectorates have trialed the inspection of systematic health and safety management rather than workplace conditions and hardware, and there is more attention being paid to systems of work in inspections than there was in the past.
All of the Australian statutes for work health and safety give inspectors broad inspection powers, and empower inspectors to issue improvement and prohibition notices, and to prosecute duty holders found to be in breach of the legislation. In New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania, the ACT, the Northern Territory, South Australia and Victoria, inspectorates can also issue infringement notices, although the circumstances under which infringement notices may be issued vary quite markedly.
The legislation in some jurisdictions also provides for enforceable undertakings. All of the statutes provide that the principal penalty for offences is the fine. Most of the inspectorates for work health and safety have publicly available enforcement policies and strategies. While there are important differences in enforcement policy and practice there are some common approaches between some jurisdictions and, in recent years, all inspectorates have participated in some nationally coordinated and implemented enforcement initiatives under the auspices of the Heads of Workplace Safety Authorities HWSA.
Although most of the Australian statutes for work health and safety make provision for the prosecution of culpable managers and directors of corporations in breach of the statutory requirements, most prosecutions have been conducted against corporate employers, rather then corporate officers. Enforcement action against designers, manufacturers, importers and suppliers of plant, substances and structures is also rare.
It should be noted that increasingly the Australian public prosecutors are considering bringing manslaughter prosecutions under the general criminal law where gross negligence causes workplace deaths. There have been a few successful manslaughter prosecutions, one involving a small company in Victoria inand a couple in Queensland. Nevertheless, inspectors have begun to investigate and prosecute offences involving sub-contracting and labour hire relationships.
This may increase in the future with the adoption of the national model legislation which requires persons conducting businesses or undertakings PCBUs to ensure the health and safety, so far as is reasonably practicable, of all workers engaged or caused to be engaged, or whose activities in carrying out work are influenced or directed by the PCBU. In all jurisdictions the statutes make provision for worker elected health and safety representatives. In all jurisdictions except Western Australia, the powers given to representatives are quite broad, and include rights to training, inspection, consultation, information and similar issues.