Ministers responsible for WHS asked Safe Work Australia to review the content and operation of the model WHS laws in 2018. Safe Work Australia appointed independent reviewer, Ms Marie Boland, to conduct the review. The Review of the model WHS laws: Final report was provided to WHS ministers in December 2018.
The Review’s central finding is that the model WHS laws are largely operating as intended, but the final report includes 34 recommendations to improve clarity and consistency, including undertaking further review and analysis in certain areas.
Safe Work Australia released a Consultation Regulation Impact Statement (Consultation RIS) on 24 June 2019, seeking comments on the recommendations of the Review. Consultations are open for a six-week period ending on 5 August 2019. Written submissions can be made during this time on Safe Work Australia’s Engage page.
The Consultation RIS covers all 34 of the Review recommendations. However, Safe Work Australia is particularly interested in feedback on 12 of the recommendations that are likely to have the most significant impact on stakeholders, or that require further information and analysis to assess the impact. These recommendations are discussed in more detail in the Consultation RIS, and include:
- introducing regulations dealing with psychological health
- new arrangements for health and safety representatives (HSR) and work groups in small businesses
- clarifying workplace entry of HSR assistants and WHS entry permit holders
- providing HSRs with choice of training course
- providing a process for resolving disputes about WHS issues
- including gross negligence as an element of the Category 1 offence, and
- introducing an industrial manslaughter offence.
Why we are consulting
The Review recommendations are subject to a regulatory impact assessment process, in accordance with the Council of Australian Governments best practice regulation guidelines. This process ensures WHS Ministers are informed about the likely impacts of each option.
The regulatory impact assessment process has two steps. The first step is to undertake consultation with stakeholders that may be affected by the recommendations, through a Consultation Regulation Impact Statement (RIS). The second step is to prepare a Decision RIS for WHS ministers, reflecting the feedback and evidence received during consultation.
The 2018 Review of the model WHS laws
Ms Marie Boland was appointed by Safe Work Australia as independent reviewer, based on her experience in WHS policy and regulation.
The Review examined the content and operation of the model WHS laws, including whether they are achieving the objectives stated in the model WHS Act or if they have resulted in unintended consequences.
The Review process involved extensive consultations with a wide range of stakeholders. The consultation summary provides an outline of the views and experiences shared during the consultation meetings, in discussion forums and in written submissions.
Submissions and contributions to the discussion forums received during the Review are available on our Engage page.
The final report of the Review was provided to WHS ministers on 18 December 2018 and published by Safe Work Australia on 25 February 2019.
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