New Work Health & Safety Laws

New Wokr Health and Safety Laws

The WA Government has recently announced that the state’s new Work Health and Safety (WHS) laws will come into effect on the 31st of March. These laws bring together West Australian workplaces under one Act. Three sets of regulations have been developed and cover workplaces, mining and petroleum and can be viewed here.

There are several significant changes to the WHS Act which affect businesses including:

  • Expansion of Duty of Care – Businesses now have a greater responsibility for work health and safety under the Act.
  • New definition for employers (PCBU) and senior managers (Officers) – the definition of a person conducting business or undertaking (PCBU) and Officers has expanded putting greater responsibility on business owners, directors and general managers who make decisions that affect the whole business.
  • New definition of a ‘worker’ which includes contractors and volunteers. A worker is a person who carries out work in any capacity for the PCBU including as a contractor, employee, apprentice, or volunteer.
  • Introduction of a positive obligation of due diligence – an employee no longer needs to be injured or die to be prosecuted, if your business has not met your obligations you can be prosecuted. Businesses need to show they have taken reasonable steps to ensure the health and safety of workers.
  • Introduction of Industrial Manslaughter – which means business owners (PCBU’s) and senior managers (Officers) can go to jail for 20 years and be fined up to $5,000 000 if their conduct in failing to comply with the WHS duty of care caused a death.
  • Expansion of a Notifiable Incident – new requirements to notify WorkSafe immediately of any dangerous incident that exposes a person to a serious health or safety risk.
  • Increased penalties for failing to comply with WHS duty of care. Three new categories of penalties for PCBUs or Officers that are found to fail to comply with their health and safety duty of care and that failure exposes workers to risk or causes death or serious harm.

To be prepared for and manage the new WHS duty of care in your business ProcessWorx safety consultants recommend having and implementing a safety management system. A Work Health and Safety management system includes a policy, risk register, processes and safe work procedures. However, there is no point just having documents, you need to make sure your business implements the system and have evidence of how you’ve done so. If you do not have a ProcessWorx WHS Package or any other WHS management system, please contact ProcessWorx to see how we can help you and see our WHS Packages here. Contact the ProcessWorx consultants on (08) 9316 9896 or email enquiries@processworx.com.au

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Written by Danielle McNamee

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Marisa Ross

HR Advisor

Marisa is an experienced and motivated HR professional with a strong HR generalist and business operations background with a focus on employee relations, performance management, leadership training & development, workers compensation & injury management, and employee retention. Marisa holds a Bachelor of Human Resource Management and a Bachelor of Behavioural Science with a minor in Counselling. Having worked in a variety of industries from SMEs to large blue-chip organisations, Marisa is passionate about enriching employee experience, employee retention, and building leadership capability in people management.

Aimee Grigson

Aimee Grigson

WHS Advisor

Aimee has a strong understanding of Workplace Health and Safety Legislation and standards and has extensive HSEQ experience in a number of industries. Aimee has a great ability to engage across all levels of organisation, including field teams, leadership and external stakeholders. Aimee ensures Health and Safety Management Systems are compliant to legislation, effectively implemented and understood by all. Aimee has a Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety and qualifications in auditing and incident investigations. Aimee is passionate about coaching and developing small businesses towards a positive safety culture.