Work Health and Safety Qld: Amendments being considered to work health and safety laws

Source: Work Health Safety Queensland

The Queensland Government has been reviewing work health and safety laws in Queensland and giving businesses an opportunity to provide feedback on those which came into effect last year. Business representatives have generally supported the laws but considered some had a significant compliance burden for industry.

Some areas identified for change included removing audiometric testing for workers and streamlining some asbestos-related requirements. These changes will be considered at a national level through the Select Council of Workplace Relations as they would involve amending the national model regulations significantly.

Some of the requirements under review in the current Queensland regulations have a delayed commencement until 1 January 2014 or transitional arrangements that would expire on 31 December 2013. The government is proposing to extend these by 12 months up to 31 December 2014 to ensure that businesses are not placed in a situation where they are expected to comply with requirements which may be amended or removed over the next year.

It also proposed to make some amendments of a minor or technical nature to ensure consistency with the national model regulations. More information about these amendments and the extension of transitional arrangements will be available on www.worksafe.qld.gov.au once they are approved.

Following consultation with business and union representatives, the government is proposing to approve the following model codes of practice as Queensland codes:

  • Abrasive blasting (to replace the abrasive blasting code retained last year)
  • Managing risks of hazardous chemicals at the workplace (to replace the hazardous chemicals code retained last year)
  • Managing risks of plant in the workplace (to replace the plant code retained last year)
  • Spray painting and powder coating (to replace spray painting regulations from the former WHS Regulation 2008 that were carried over to the WHS Regulation 2011 until the new code was finalised)
  • Excavation work (to replace some excavation-related regulations from the former WHS Regulation 2008 that were carried over to the WHS Regulation 2011 until the new code was finalised)
  • Welding processes
  • Demolition work
  • Safe design of structures.

It is also proposed that the Tunnelling Code of Practice 2007 be revoked and replaced by a new national guide on tunnelling which will be published by Safe Work Australia.

New requirements in the regulations which take effect on 1 January 2014 are:

  • the requirement to have a system of work that includes effective communication with remote or isolated workers (section 48)
  • asbestos management plans for naturally occurring asbestos (sections 432 and 433).

Further information

For updates on the status of the proposed amendments, visit www.worksafe.qld.gov.au or call the WHS Infoline on 1300 369 915.