Improving worker safety has always been an important issue in WA, and now the WA government are taking it more seriously than ever. The Western Australian government have approved the development of an updated Work Health and Safety Bill which aims to improve the safety of workers, most efficiently in the state’s resources department. It was recently noted that the current bill is more than 30 years old, and needs to be updated if workers are going to be effectively protected.
This change comes soon after an incident in which an employee was seriously injured and left with a brain condition at work, but the incident was never reported by the company. The company was prosecuted, fined over $25,000, and left with a criminal conviction. However, more must still be done in order to protect employees in the most efficient way.
Improving Consistency Throughout Australia
The new and improved health and safety bill is being designed to improve consistency with the rest of Australia. This will give primary legislation for workplace health and safety across all WA industries. The bill will replace 3 acts; the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984, Mines Safety and Inspection Act 1994, and Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Safety levies Act 2011.
This supports the government’s plan to reduce red tape. This new bill will be supported by industry specific regulations too, which will suit the state’s individual conditions, allowing the resources sector to continue to use a risk-based approach.
An Old And Outdated Health And Safety Bill
Just recently, Bill Johnston, a WA mines and petroleum minister, said that worker health and safety was a high priority. However, he explained that the occupational health and safety legislation in WA is out of date, being more than 30 years old. Action is finally being taken and the new bill is set to update and improve the regulation of workplace health and safety once and for all. However, we still have a few years left before the bill comes into place.
The bill will outline many important things, although some of them will not be industry specific. For example, for your unique industry you may be required to hire a rcd tester to ensure that your RCD life saving device is preventing electric shocks the way it should. Hiring somebody to ensure that your equipment and appliances are working efficiently will be a very important part of all future health and safety endeavours. It will be more up to the employer than ever to ensure that their business is safe and fit for workers.
Although WA is eagerly waiting the bill, it will not be introduced to state parliament until mid 2019. Before this happens, consultations with stakeholders and the community must take place. It’s only when all of these things have been undertaken that the bill will finally replace the outdated 30 year old bill. Although there’s a while to wait, this is still very good news for workers who are concerned that they are not properly protected within their industry in WA.