The big news for workplaces is the change from OHS to WHS. HC Online Magazine reports:
The rollout of the new WHS (Work Health Safety) legislation will become law as of 1 January 2012, and any workplace incident after this time will be subject to the new laws and harsher penalties. The harmonisation of WHS (previously OHS) laws has broadened the definitions of who exactly are ‘workers’, what constitutes a ‘workplace’, and who are ‘officers’, that is, who is responsible for workplace safety.
The article warns that WHS provides for tought penalties including custodial sentences. (HC Online) advised employers to ensure their officers:
- Keep an up-to-date knowledge of work health and safety matters
- Understand the hazards and risks of the business or operation and the nature of the business or operation generally
- Ensure resources and processes eliminate or minimise the risks identified
- Have appropriate systems in place to receive information on and allow timely response to incidents, hazards and risks
- Develop processes that ensure compliance with legal obligations under the Act; and
- Verify the provision and use of resources and processes.