Thinking | 12 September 2019

Regulations for WA Work Health and Safety

The public consultation phase for the Work Health and Safety Act for Western Australia (WHS Act (WA)) ended on 31 August 2018.

On Tuesday 27 August 2019, Western Australian Industrial Relations Minister Bill Johnston announced that they are now seeking submissions on the introduction of three sets of Work Health and Safety (WHS) regulations to support the WHS Act (WA). The proposed regulations are:

  • WA WHS Regulations – this will be based on the National Model WHS regulations and will apply generally to all workplaces in Western Australia;
  • WHS (Mines) Regulations – this will apply to the mining sector; and
  • WHS (Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Operations) Regulations – this will apply to petroleum and geothermal energy operations.

The public consultation period will end on 26 November 2019.

The proposed regulations will include unique provisions from the existing Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996 but will not include union right of entry provisions which will continue to be dealt with under the Industrial Relations Act 1979 (WA).  Dangerous goods and major hazard facilities will also be excluded and instead will remain under the dangerous goods legislation. This approach will be reviewed within two years of the WHS Act (WA) being introduced to see whether dangerous goods, including major hazard facilities, should be brought under the WHS Act (WA).

Minister Johnston encourages ‘the community to have their say on the modernisation of WA’s work health and safety laws, which is long overdue’.  Information about making a submission is available on the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety website.

In addition, the Western Australian government proposes to invest $12.9 million to increase the number of WorkSafe’s full time equivalent staff by 24, this will include adding another 21 inspectors. Western Australia will then match New South Wales and Queensland’s ratios with one full time equivalent inspector for every 10,000 employees in the state. Inspectors will also be facilitated in carrying out more workplace inspections with the government announcing it will fund 16 new vehicles.

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