Potential New Changes coming for WA Workplace Health & Safety

Whether you manage a retail store in a department complex in a CBD or are the foreman on a rural manufacturing site, keeping up with the latest in work health and safety practices is important for all Australian business owners. Those in Western Australia are about to experience a new round of consultation on a new policy, which could be vital to pay attention to.

Last month, WA Commerce Minister Michael Mischin announced the Work Health and Safety (WHS) Bill 2014, which would remain open to public comment until the end of January next year.

“The state government is keen to develop the best legislation suitable to the Western Australian working environment,” he said as he tabled the bill in parliament on October 23. Changes in the proposed legislation include the removal of red tape regarding record-keeping, as well as a separation of the terms ‘worker’ and ‘volunteer’.

Mr Mischin acknowledged that workplace injuries and deaths had declined since the introduction of workplace safety legislation in 1984, but also said it was important to continue updating legislation to ensure safety.

A recent Mondaq article says this is the closest that the WA government has come to adopting model national WHS standards and moving away from the state’s own 1984 laws, and Mr Mischin has also noted that this move for consultation is to test the merits and benefits of changing the system.

Regardless of whether the legislation moves ahead, it is a timely reminder of the importance of workplace safety. Informing employees of correct workplace practices and the correct use of appropriate equipment are essentials in many workplaces to prevent risk of injury or damage to products.

Whether moving large amounts of food or a small amount of flammable fuel, all workplace employees need safe and correct tools for optimal health and safety.

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