It is not only ‘employers’ who need to exercise caution. Work health safety legislation also captures designers, manufacturers, importers, suppliers, installers, constructors and commissioners of plant, substances or structures. If these activities are undertaken in a jurisdiction where the model work health safety laws are in force, then those laws now apply to your business, irrespective of whether your business employs people in that jurisdiction.
For instance, if a business manufactures products in Western Australia but supplies them to businesses in New South Wales, the new work health safety Act provisions in effect in NSW, including the significantly increased penalties, will apply to those activities.
Work health safety harmonisation provides a significant opportunity for a refresh and improvement in the safety of Australian workplaces. The objective of the new work health safety laws is to encourage businesses to identify key changes and to review their current situation to ascertain what can be done better, not simply to comply with the new regime, but to tangibly improve safety.
Businesses need to review their work health safety practices:
- If operating in a harmonised jurisdiction(s) to ensure they are compliant with the new work health safety laws and will be compliant with all changes by the end of the transition periods;
- If operating in non-harmonised jurisdiction(s), but providing products or services to entities in harmonised jurisdiction(s) – to ensure compliance with the requirement of the work health safety harmonised jurisdiction to the extent services are provided in harmonised jurisdiction(s).