By Joanna Weekes
Businesses across most of Australia are hungry for information about the changes introduced with the WHS Act – especially those who operate in South Australia and Tasmania (the two most recent states to commence the WHS Act).
Today we have a rundown of the key changes under the new legislation.
10 key changes under the WHS Act
With the introduction of the WHS Act, there has been a complete overhaul of existing health and safety laws.
The 10 most significant changes that you should be aware of include:
- New and important definitions that have been introduced, including:
- what reasonably practicable steps are;
- how an employer is defined, now referred to as a PCBU (person conducting a business or undertaking); and
- what an officer is
- Primary duty of care
- New positive duty of care on officers to exercise due diligence
- Increase in penalties
- New role of health and safety representatives
- Health and safety committees
- Broader consultation requirements
- Wider right of entry for the unions
- Notification of incidents
- Investigations by inspectors
You can find information on all of these topics in your OH&S Handbook, but your next few OH&S Bulletins will also take you through these key changes one by one to give you an outline of what you need to know and do to comply with the WHS Act.
Even if you think you know this information already, if there is one thing I have learnt, it’s that you can never learn enough when it comes to health and safety, and people need constant reminders of the importance of implementing your company’s safety systems on a daily basis.
Teach your workers about the changes…
Don’t forget that your workers need to know what’s going on too – it’s great for you to know the new laws back-to-front, but what’s the point if your workers haven’t been trained in the changes to their safety systems and procedures?
Your workers need to be proactive every day in their safe work – and it’s your job to motivate them to do so.