With South Australia on board, Australia is a step closer to nationally harmonised workplace safety laws providing workers across Australia the same standard of health and safety protection regardless of where they work, or the work they do.
To progress nationally consistent laws, Safe Work Australia, an Australian Government tripartite agency focused on improving work health and safety arrangements across Australia, developed a model Work Health and Safety Act that could be adopted by each state, territory and the Commonwealth.
From 1 January 2013, South Australia's work health and safety legislation - which includes the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (SA) and the Work Health and Safety Regulations 2012 (SA), supported by Codes of Practice - will align with New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory, the Northern Territory and the Commonwealth.
The Work Health and Safety Regulations 2012 (SA) identify the control measures that must be applied to specific work activities and hazards, for example machine guarding and noise exposure.
The Codes of Practice provide practical information, or guidance, on how to meet the requirements of the regulations. The Codes are not mandatory but provide information to help workplaces achieve safe systems of work.
In the long term, harmonised work health and safety laws will reduce red tape and compliance costs for businesses that operate across state borders. It will also provide workers with the same protections and safety standards as well as recognising their licensing and training nationally.
The key principles of the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (SA) are consistent with long established and familiar occupational health and safety standards. From 1 January 2013 the Act:
- establishes health and safety duties, including the primary duty to protect any person from exposure to hazards and risks that arise from work
- provides for worker representation, consultation and participation including through Health and Safety Representatives and Health and Safety Committees
- enables compliance and enforcement through SafeWork SA, the regulator, and
- provides for the creation of regulations and Codes of Practice.
Any significantly new regulation requirements will have transitional periods to provide businesses and workers with time to prepare.
SafeWork SA has resources to help you understand the new work health and safety laws and share the message with your workers and colleagues.
The Familiar principles with a new approach brochure (PDF 312kb) explains the key principles of the new laws. You can obtain a print copy from our Bookshop. This brochure is complemented by a presentation (PDF 1744kb) about the major changes and an A4 poster (PDF 202kb) which is ideal for posting on your workplace noticeboard.
A series of Fact sheets and information sheets is also available. These will be supplemented over time.