Change is good. Change in occupational health and safety laws and regulatory strategies is usually good as well, but some action in Australia is curious.
On 29 April 2010, the Government of the Australian Capital Territory(ACT) established” a new body called WorkSafe ACT, according to a media statement from the Attorney General, Simon Corbell:
“The new WorkSafe ACT will perform a crucial function within the ORS [The Office of Regulatory Services part of the Department of Justice & Community Services], and will combine the educational and compliance roles under the Commissioner for Work Safety….
“WorkSafe ACT is about providing better enforcement, education and compliance in occupational health and safety in the ACT. The Government will invest approximately an additional $2.4m over the next four years to improve management structure and enhance the regulatory presence around the ACT.”
Basically the work and resources of the current Work Safety Commissioner are being expanded into an organisation more closely aligned with that in the States.
The timing is a little odd given that the legislative structure is in the middle of the national OHS harmonisation program but perhaps it is that process that has been the motivator for the change.
The new role will be an interesting one to monitor as the ACT has a small variety of industries and occupations to cover. There are no ports or maritime facilities, for instance. The territory has no mining industry, to our knowledge. This reality provides a slightly different approach to OHS enforcement in this jurisdiction. It should equally provide some opportunities for innovative thinking, particularly, in the white-collar industries.