Work, health and safety laws in WA have changed. The Occupational Health and Safety Act 1984 (WA) has been repealed from 31 March, 2022.
The repealed Act has been replaced with the Work Health and Safety Act 2020. The provisions of the old Act have been consolidated and recast in the new Act, which is substantially based on the national model Work Health and Safety Bill.
The national model Bill was developed under the Inter-Governmental Agreement for Regulatory and Operational Reform in Occupational Health and Safety to underpin a harmonised WHS framework in Australia.
This means WA has now harmonised its legislation with the majority of other Australian jurisdictions.
The key elements of the new Act include:
- a primary duty of care requiring persons conducting a business or undertaking to ensure the health and safety of workers and others who may be affected by their activities;
- duties of care for persons who influence the way work is carried out, as well as the integrity of products used for work and persons who conduct training in workplaces;
- a requirement that officers exercise due diligence to ensure compliance;
- a framework to establish a general scheme for authorisations such as licences, permits and registrations;
- protection against discrimination for those who exercise or perform or seek to exercise or perform powers, functions or rights under the Act;
- continuation of Western Australia’s peak consultative bodies, re-established as the Work Health and Safety Commission (WHSC) and the Mining and Petroleum Advisory Committee (MAPAC).
The commentary in the By Lawyers Employment Law publication has been updated accordingly.