WHS National Harmonisation

If you proactively try and keep up with safety news in Australia, you would have come across the “hot” safety topic that addresses Workplace Health & Safety Harmonisation in Australia. In a nut shell, the movement seeks to create National standards relating to work health and safety regulations. At the moment all States, Territories and the Commonwealth are responsible for making and enforcing their own safety laws, which vary in detail and application. Over the past 20 years there has been efforts to make workplace health and safety regulations more consistent by creating National standards and Codes Of Practice. Some of the reasons why several safety experts and organisations believe we need national reform is;

  • Developing uniform, equitable and effective safety standards and protections for all workers will result in reductions in the incidence of death, injury and disease in the workplace.
  • Inconsistent laws cause confusion for businesses and inequitable safety standards across jurisdictions and industry sectors.
  • Multi-state businesses can focus on effective company wide prevention strategies.

Although 20 years seems quite some time to develop new standard structures, in recent years the initiative seems to be gaining momentum. Early in 2011, public comment was invited for the Model Work Health Safety Regulations.

Safe Work Australia is the principal player driving national policy development in health and safety and workers compensation. Their website contains a wealth of information and fact sheets on the topic and is a great starting point for anyone trying to find information on the new proposals.

Today most states and territories are signed up to the national harmonisation with the other states likely to to the same within a few years.

So How Will The Proposed Changes Affect Your Business? 

Do you need a Workplace Health and Safety plan?