New OHS Codes and Regulations for Australia

On 20 May 2010, SafetyAtWorkBlog mentioned the “challenge” of harmonising OHS approaches to bullying and harassment.  This morning Safe Work Australia provided a list of the Code of Practice and Regulations that are being developed as part of the OHS harmonisation process:

Model Regulations

  • “Licences – general e.g. asbestos and high risk.
  • Workplaces –first aid, personal protection equipment and emergency management.
  • Plant – general.
  • Chemicals – inorganic lead, asbestos, labelling, safety data sheets and major hazard facilities.
  • Other hazards – manual tasks, noise, work at heights, remote and isolated work, confined spaces.
  • Construction – general, excavation, demolition, scaffolding, tilt up, fragile roofing.
  • Other Hazardous Work – diving, abrasive blasting, fire and explosion.”

Model Codes of Practice

  • “Managing risk and consultation.
  • Licences – construction induction.
  • Workplaces – traffic management, fatigue and first aid.
  • Plant – general.
  • Chemicals – asbestos, labelling and safety data sheets.
  • Other hazards – manual tasks, noise, work at heights and confined spaces.
  • Construction – excavation, demolition, scaffolding and tilt up.
  • Other hazardous work – diving, abrasive blasting, logging, welding and spray painting.”

It will be interesting to see how Australia writes a Code of Practice on Risk Management & Consultation.  One would be justified in asking why such a Code is being produced at all when the OHS industry has relied for years on the AS436 Risk Management standard and now on the international Risk Management Standard ISO 31000.  Perhaps it is true that Standards Australia and SAI Global are being sidelined in the OHS harmonisation process.

According to the harmonisation timeline, the public comment phase for draft codes and regulations will run from November 2010 to February 2011.  It is always difficult to consult with members and others over the Christmas/New Year break in preparing submissions but in Australian OHS, over the years, this period always seems to be one for consultation.

Given that for some States harmonisation on some matters will be challenging, if not revolutionary, the draft Codes and Regulations will be of considerable interest as they clarify the ideology of OHS as shown in the current Work Health & Safety Act.

Also, there are several support industries that base their operations and business planning on OHS regulations.  Christmas 2010 could be of great interest to them.

Some Codes have already started dribbling out.  On 18 May 2010, Safe Work Australia released its National Code of Practice for the Prevention of Falls in Housing Construction.

Kevin Jones

reservoir, victoria, australia
Categories construction, consultation, government, hazards, law, OHS, safety, Uncategorized, workplaceTags , , ,

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