The public consultation phase for the Work Health and Safety Act for Western Australia (WHS Act (WA)) ended on 31 August 2018.
On Tuesday 27 August 2019, Western Australian Industrial Relations Minister Bill Johnston announced that they are now seeking submissions on the introduction of three sets of Work Health and Safety (WHS) regulations to support the WHS Act (WA). These regulations are:
- WA WHS Regulations – this will be based on the National Model WHS regulations and will apply generally to workplaces (including the mining industry and petroleum and geothermal operations);
- WHS (Mines) Regulations – this will apply to mines only; and
- WHS (Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Operations) Regulations – this will apply to petroleum and geothermal energy operations only.
The public consultation period will end on 26 November 2019.
The proposed regulations will include unique provisions from the existing Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996 but will exclude union right of entry provisions which will be left in the Industrial Relations Act 1979 (WA). Dangerous goods and major hazard facilities will also be excluded and instead will remain under the dangerous goods legislation. This approach will be reviewed within two years of the WHS Act (WA) being introduced to see whether dangerous goods, including major hazard facilities, should be brought under the WHS Act (WA).
Minister Johnston encourages ‘the community to have their say on the modernisation of WA’s work health and safety laws, which is long overdue’.
In addition, the Western Australian government proposes to invest $12.9 million to increase the amount of full time equivalent staff by 24, this will include an introduction of another 21 inspectors. Western Australia will match New South Wales and Queensland’s ratios with one full time equivalent inspector per 10,000 employees. Inspectors will also be able to carry out more workplace inspections with the government announcing it will fund 16 new vehicles.