MODEL OH&S LEGISLATION
The new occupational health and safety (OHS) reform agenda aims to harmonise OHS legislation across Australia and reduce the incidence of workplace death, injury and disease.
Safe Work Australia’s role in OHS reform
Background/National OHS Review
The IGA outlines the commitment of the Commonwealth, state and territory governments to work together to develop and implement model legislation. This cooperation is the most effective way to achieve harmonisation of OHS laws in Australia. The IGA commits each government to pass their own laws that mirror the model OHS laws and adopt these laws by December 2011.
The national review into model OHS laws was completed in January 2009, resulting in two comprehensive reports being submitted to the Workplace Relations Ministers’ Council (WRMC) with recommendations on the optimal structure and content of a model Act that could be adopted in all jurisdictions.
Who else is involved?
Consultation will occur with the release of an exposure draft of the model Act, model regulations and a draft Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) for public comment.
Access Economics has been engaged to develop the RIS and assess the costs and benefits of implementing model legislation.
What is model legislation?
The model Act sets out the general duties of care and will be followed by more detailed requirements in model regulations. Model Codes of Practice will also be developed to provide practical guidance on how to achieve the requirements of the Act and regulations.
While we are all taking steps in the right direction, more needs to be done. Over 135 000 Australians are seriously injured at work every year and more than 260 die as a result of work-related injuries.
Inconsistent laws cause confusion for businesses and inequitable safety standards across jurisdictions and industry sectors. Inconsistency also leads to duplication and inefficiencies for governments in the provision of policy, regulatory and support services.
How will this affect workers?
The model Act will also facilitate effective participation of workers and the representation of their interests in OHS.
How will this affect businesses?
This critical regulatory reform will reduce the costs borne by business in complying with inconsistent OHS laws. Instead of spending time developing systems to comply with each jurisdiction’s requirements, multi-state businesses will be able to focus on developing and implementing effective company-wide prevention strategies.
|September 2009||Model OHS Act and administrative Regulations are released for public comment.|
|November 2009||Model OHS Act and administrative Regulations public comment period closes.|
|December 2009||Model legislation submitted to WRMC for agreement.|
|December 2009||Draft model regulations developed and progressively submitted to WRMC for decision.|
|Progressively from late 2009||Stage Two: model regulations on matters addressed in existing national OHS standards.|
|Progressively from late 2009||Stage Three: model regulations on matters currently included in regulations in two thirds, or more, of the jurisdictions.|
|Early 2010||Stage Four: model regulations on matters currently included in regulations in one or several jurisdictions.|
|Progressively from late 2010||Development of model Codes of Practice.|
|December 2011||All jurisdictions have implemented the model Act and regulations.|
For more information visit www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au