Newly released health and safety codes and legislation – January 2020

Workplace Exposure Standards

Safe Work Australia has been working to review and update the workplace exposure standards (WES) for airborne contaminates.

Recent updates include:

  • Respirable crystalline silica dust has been reduced to 0.05 mg/m3 as a time-weighted average (TWA) airborne concentration over 8 hours.
  • Respirable coal dust will be reduced to a time weighted average (TWA) of 1.5 mg/m3

Each jurisdiction needs to decide when the exposure standards will be introduced.

Check out Safe Work Australia’s progress with the full review here:

https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/workplace-exposure-standards-review-methodology

Updated GHS Revision

The adoption of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) Revision 7 has been agreed by Safe Work Australia Members at their November 2019 meeting. The GHS Revision 7 ensure Australia is adopting best practice.

The replacement of GHS Revision 3 is expected to take place from July 2020 with a 2-year transition period to the GHS Revision 7.

Check out Safe Work Australia’s website for more information:

https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/media-centre/news/adoption-ghs-revision-7-under-model-whs-laws-0

Return to Work Strategy

Safe Work Australia has released a national 10-year action plan to ambitiously improve return to work outcomes across Australia.

See more about this plan here:

https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/national-return-to-work-strategy-2020-2030

Queensland

Codes

Concrete Pumping | Code of Practice | December 2019:

https://www.worksafe.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/184629/concrete-pumping-cop-2019.pdf

Electrical Safety Works | Code of Practice | January 2020:

https://www.worksafe.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/59679/es-code-of-practice-works.pdf

Electrical Safety – Electrical Equipment Rural Industry Code of Practice | Code of Practice | January 2020:

https://www.worksafe.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/59678/es-code-of-practice-rural-industry.pdf

Electrical Safety – Working Near Overhead and Underground Electric Lines | Code of Practice | January 2020:

https://www.worksafe.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/59676/es-code-of-practice-working-near-overhead-underground-electric-lines.pdf

Victoria

Legislation

Victoria has introduced the Workplace Safety Legislation Amendment (Workplace Manslaughter and Other Matters) Bill 2019. This amendment will commence in July 2020,  but may commence earlier at the government’s direction.

A duty holder will be guilty of a proposed offence if the relevant conduct:

  • is “negligent”
  • constitutes a breach of an existing duty under the OHS Act, and
  • causes the death of a person at or near a workplace.

Conduct being an act or omission of an act that occurred before of after the amendment to legislation. Conduct is negligent when there is a great falling short of the standard a reasonable person would have taken and the conduct involves a high risk of death, serious injury or serious illness.

The Bill – click here

Explanatory Memorandum – click here

Workplace Exposure Standards

Silica: The exposure standard for respirable crystalline silica dust has been reduced to 0.05 mg/m3 as a time-weighted average (TWA) airborne concentration over 8 hours. Effective from 17 December 2019

Western Australia

Legislation

The Work Health Safety Bill 2019 was introduced to the Legislative Assembly on the 27th of November and is expected to be implemented by mid 2020 along with updated Work Health Safety Regulations. The Legislative Assembly next meets on 11 February 2020

The Bill is based on the national Work Health Safety Act. The Bill contains provisions for Industrial Manslaughter, Prohibition against insurance from monetary penalties and Duty of Care provisions for WHS service providers.

The WHS Bill will replace three current acts:

  • the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984,
  • Mines Safety and Inspection Act 1994; and
  • Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Safety Levies Act 2011

The Bill as introduced – click here

Explanatory Memorandum presented in the Legislative Assembly – click here

 

Northern Territory

Legislation

The Northern Territory passed the Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Amendment Bill 2019 on the 27 November 2019. The Bill amends the legislation to include the offence of industrial manslaughter. There has been no

The Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Amendment Bill 2019:

https://parliament.nt.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/731233/Work-Health-and-Safety-National-Uniform-Legislation-Amendment-Bill-2019.pdf

New South Wales

Legislation

Amendments to the Work Health Safety Act have been proposed through the Work Health and Safety Amendment (Review) Bill 2019 which, if passed, they will address a number of the recommendations from the Boland report.

The key amendments include:

  • The prohibition of insurance against WHS fines.
  • Include an alternative fault element, lowering the required degree of a breach from reckless to gross negligence.
  • Maximum penalties increase, through the adoption of a penalty unit system.
  • A added note to make it clear that a workplace death may also constitute manslaughter under the Crimes Act 1900 and may be prosecuted under that Act.
  • Provisions for the sharing of personal information between Health and Safety Regulators across jurisdictions, in relation to incident investigations.

Want to have a say?

A public comment period is currently open to provide views and submissions for the committee to consider:

https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/committees/inquiries/Pages/inquiry-details.aspx?pk=2571#tab-members

In addition, amendments to the Work Health Safety Regulation were effective from 15 November 2019. See the details here:

https://www.safework.nsw.gov.au/news/safework-public-notice/amendments-to-the-work-health-and-safety-regulation-2017-from-15-november-2019

Explanatory statement – click here

South Australia

Workplace Exposure Standards

The exposure standard for respirable crystalline silica dust has been reduced to 0.05 mg/m3 as a time-weighted average (TWA) airborne concentration over 8 hours. Effective from 1 July 2020.

Tasmania

 No updates.

Australian Capital Territory

No updates.

For past updates to codes and legislation through 2018-2019, review this blog;

https://www.actionohs.com.au/latest-codes-by-state/