What is Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) Harmonisation?
Up until now in Australia, different states have abided by different sets of Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) laws. The changes to WHS laws in Australia and particularly WHS harmonisation in Western Australia, is designed to provide all states and territories with a consistent set of WHS laws to ‘provide for a balanced and nationally consistent framework to secure the health and safety of workers and workplaces’.
These changes will influence the day-to-day operations in how occupational health and safety (OHS) is practiced and managed as well as how incidents are reported. It will also ensure that health, safety, environment and quality (HSEQ) management as a whole will be simplified, to ensure greater compliance in your workplace
What are the changes?
Figures of work-related fatalities differ between state jurisdictions and are due to legislative inconsistencies, prompting the amalgamation of a nation-wide uniform adoption of WHS laws. For example, in South Australia, injuries sustained on the journey between home and work can be classified as a workplace-related injury or fatality; whereas WA legislation explicitly states that injuries sustained during the commute are not considered as workplace incidents. Another noteworthy point is that reported workplace fatalities don’t include incidents of self-inflicted fatalities, irrespective of the industry or type of work.
Some of the areas of change the WHS Act (WA) will address are:
- Increased penalties
- Due diligence for officers
- Enforceable undertakings
- Right of entry for WHS matters
- Search warrants/injunctions
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