Late last week, SA became the seventh state to adopt the national Work Health and Safety Harmonisation laws, under their Work Health and Safety Act 2012.
South Australia's new harmonised Work Health and Safety legislation will take effect on 1 January 2013, replacing the current Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare Act 1986.
This will bring South Australia in line with New South Wales, Queensland, the Australian Capital Territory, the Northern Territory and the Commonwealth jurisdictions that have already adopted the new laws. Tasmania will also adopt the laws on 1 January 2013.
The bill was amended in its passage through Parliament, with some of the key amendments made by the Legislative Council including:
Clarification on eliminating and minimising risks to health
Clarification of volunteer office responsibilities
Clarification on the number of training days and policies and procedures in regards to Health and Safety Representatives
The reinstatement of the right to silence
The requirement of review of the Act immediately after implementation
In the long term WHS will reduce red tape and compliance costs for businesses that operate across state borders. It will also provide workers with the same protections and safety standards no matter where they work, while also recognising their licensing and training nationally.
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