Easy OHS

Harmonisation Debacle Continues

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

It is safe to say the introduction of the Workplace Health and Safety Legislation (Harmonisation) is a complete and utter shambles.

Many business owners are blissfully unaware there has even been a change.  Federal and State Governments seems to be ignoring the whole debacle hoping it will all go away and no one will notice. 

Meanwhile companies and business owners are being left to try and sort out the mess.    

In terms of the actual state of play here is where we stand.   

Jurisdiction:  Commonwealth

Date of Implementation: 1 January 2012

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Jurisdiction:  Australian Capital Territory      

 Date of Implementation: 1 January 2012

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New South Wales      

Date of Implementation: 1 January 2012. Laws relating to officers’ due diligence duties are already in effect

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Northern Territory     

Date of Implementation:  1 January 2012

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Queensland     

Date of Implementation:  1 January 2012

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South Australia
 
 
Parliament voted to adjourn debate on the Work Health and Safety (WHS) Bill until 14 February 2012

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Tasmania     

Tasmania’s Legislative Council amended the Bill by changing the commencement date to 1 January 2013. The Bill will be resubmitted to the House of Assembly for agreement.

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Victoria

Not yet introduced, the Victorian Government announced it would delay harmonisation

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Western Australia

Not yet introduced, the Western Australian Government has announced that it is unable to meet the 1 January 2012 implementation timeframe

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The development of the model WHS Act, the model WHS Regulations, 11 model Codes of Practice and the National Compliance and Enforcement Policy is complete.  Work is continuing to develop further model Codes of Practice and guidance material to support the model laws.
 
So in summary, The Commonwealth, ACT, NSW, QLD and NT are now using the harmonised WHS Legislation, however TAS, VIC, SA and WA are not.  So much for a national system!

In addition the Codes of Practice are also not finalised. 

It is important to remember that 'transitional' arrangements are also in place - and you should refer to the Safe Work Australia website for specific details in each jurisdiction.

After talking to many businesses and organisations it is clear the harmonisation has been poorly planned and communicated, with many business owners unaware of the ramifications.  Also we note there has been no effective advertising or media announcement from the Federal Government, so many people are in the dark. 

Make no mistake there are some major changes in the harmonised laws, so we recommend keeping up to date with progress of the implementation and in particular the introduction of the new Codes of Practice. 

Sorry we don't have more positive news on this front, but we will keep our members posted.

Regards

EasyOHS Support Team

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