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Home Membership Information Services Safety and workers' compensation From OHS to WHS - The New National Work Health and Safety Laws

From OHS to WHS - The New National Work Health and Safety Laws

WHS Laws - Latest News

South Australia passed the WHS Act on 1 November 2012 and became the seventh jurisdiction to adopt the harmonised WHS laws. This brings SA in line with Queensland, NSW, NT, ACT and the Commonwealth jurisdictions where the new laws have already been implemented. Tasmania will be implementing the new laws on 1 January 2013 as will South Australia.

The South Australian WHS Act closely follows the model laws but does contain some amendments. A summary of the amendments can be accessed here and a copy of the Act can be accessed at SA government’s legislation web page .

The current South Australian Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare Act 1986 will continue to be enforced until 1 January 2013 when it will be replaced by the Work Health and Safety Act 2011. The WHS Regulations will also commence at the same time as the new Act in South Australia. It is important to note that any significantly new requirements in the regulations will have transitional periods to provide businesses with time to prepare.

What does this mean for the ‘delayed’ states – Western Australia and Victoria?

Western Australia. WA remains committed to the harmonisation process and intends to adopt the model WHS laws but with some amendments to the Act. In October of this year, the Government of Western Australia issued a Consultation Impact Statement and Issues Paper to explore the impact of the WHS model regulations and codes of practice for WA. Ai Group’s response can be accessed here.

Victoria. The Victorian Government has stated publicly that they will not sign up to the current proposal for harmonised legislation for occupational health and safety, although they remain committed to harmonisation. It is hoped that the Government will reconsider its position once the harmonised laws have been reviewed in 2014. Meanwhile the current OHS Act 2004 continues to apply in Victoria.

A document comparing key provisions of the Victorian OHS legislation with the model WHS laws has been compiled by Ai Group. This information demonstrates that some elements of the model WHS laws can be applied now within the current Victorian OHS legal framework.

Let us help
Ai Group has been providing a range of information and educational options to help you prepare for the new laws and we will continue to do so. You can access information, tools and webinars through this website or participate in one of our many seminars or training sessions. Many of our members have already benefited from on-site briefing sessions tailored to their specific needs. We are here to help - give us a call.


Download the WHS at a glance Industry Magazine insert. (PDF 250Kb)

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New national WHS laws

The model Work Health and Safety Act marks an historic point in health and safety law reform.
The Act represents a new way of looking at safety governance and reflects the changing nature of work in modern times. The journey towards national WHS laws is continuing.

WHS newsletters and bulletins

As a member of Safe Work Australia, Ai Group is in a unique position to get up-to-date and relevant WHS information 'hot-off-the press' for employers. Ai Group members can access the latest WHS Newsletters and Bulletins.

WHS Information Sheets

Unsure about what your obligations are under the WHS Act? To help you, WHS Information sheets on topics such as consultation, officer duty of due diligence and union right of entry are available to download here.

WHS regulations

The endorsed WHS Regulations have been published by Safe Work Australia and a copy of the regulations is available for download from their website
Ai Group is developing tools to help you understand any changes to the regulations. This information will be available soon on these dedicated WHS laws webpages.

The new WHS language & FAQs

The new WHS laws bring change. With the change comes opportunities and some challenges. New names for things, a different way of handling safety - a new language. Find out what it means and read our FAQs.

Comparison to existing laws

The WHS laws bring significant changes but may appear familiar because in parts they are similar to current safety laws. Generally, the new laws are broader and safety responsibilities have been clearly defined. 
Read our summary of the changes.