WHS Amendments Passed in Queensland and be law (once more)
To where everything started
Inside a recent update, we confirmed the Queensland Labor Government had introduced an invoice to reverse many of the Newman Government’s changes to operate, safety and health provisions highly relevant to Safety and health Representatives (HSRs) and entry permit holders. The Newman Government claimed its amendments tightened the loophole which permitted union officials to simply misuse right of entry under Queensland’s Work Safety and health Act 2011 (WHS Act) for non-safety purposes.
Exactly what does this suggest for HSRs and Entry Permit Holders?
The Labor Government Bill (the Work Safety and health along with other Legislation Amendment Act 2015 (Queensland)) passed the parliament a week ago. The amendments include:
- reinstating a HSRs to direct workers to cease work when the HSR holds an acceptable concern the work being carried out will expose workers to some serious risk for their safety and health due to an instantaneous or imminent contact with a danger
- reinstating a HSRs to request the help of anyone (which used means a union WHS entry permit holder) with no entry permit holder getting to provide 24 hours’ notice before entering work
- taking out the penalty provision for entry permit holders, who neglect to provide notice of entry once they enter to inquire right into a suspected contravention from the WHS Act, consult and advise workers or make copies of documents highly relevant to a suspected contravention
- reducing the maximum penalty for contravening WHS entry permit conditions from 200 penalty units to 100 penalty units
reinstating work of Electrical Safety Commissioner and reinstating the Electrical Safety Education Committee and Electrical Equipment Committee.
The amendments towards the WHS Act take it back to line using the model WHS Act went by other Australian jurisdictions. Once more HSRs can direct that “unsafe work” cease if there’s an acceptable concern of the serious risk to heath and safety in the event that risk comes from immediate or imminent contact with a danger.
Once more, entry permit holders who reasonably suspect that the contravention from the WHS Act takes place, can go into the workplace without prior notice, only getting to provide notice when is fairly practicable after entering.
The main one amendment which was defeated on the ground from the parliament was the proposal to increase the phrase serious injuries to incorporate an injuries producing a person requiring four consecutive slow days work.
Practically, the amendments towards the WHS Act (considering that it returns the Act is the just like other model WHS Act jurisdictions) could make little practical difference for a lot of or most companies.
Who will be most affected and what can they do to miminise risk?
The outcome might be finest in companies that have:
- highly unionised workforces
- underlying industrial agendas
- high risks and significant hazards present at work.
Picture this scenario – a building site, a quarrel over work being carried out and also the provisions of the enterprise agreement. All of a sudden union officials (entry permit holders) are located wandering the website and speaking to workers. The excuse when challenged – there is an issue in regards to a contravention from the WHS Act so that as yet there wasn’t any chance to inform management.
What you can do to minimise the chance of misuse from the WHS entry forces?
The solution is based on the truth that the notice provisions aren’t the only compliance requirement of entry permit holders. Regardless of the notice needs, an entry permit holder should also adhere to other reasonable work safety and health needs for your workplace or any other legislated needs that could affect that kind of workplace.
For instance, if it’s an acceptable safety requirement that the customer towards the site not go into the workplace or parts of work with no authorised escort, then an entry permit holder mustn’t enter with no escort. When they achieve this, they might be in breach of section 128 from the WHS Act, irrespective on not getting to provide notice before they go into the workplace.
Minimising potential incorrect use of the entry permit is better managed through the business communicating effectively and clearly with entry permit holders, letting them know associated with a (reasonable) safety and health needs that must definitely be meet to be able to go into the workplace.
Be obvious exactly what the business (the WHS Act refers back to the PCBU operating the company or perhaps in control or control over work) expects of entry permit holders and just what areas (or no) are high-risk areas and can’t be joined with no authorised escort, or utilization of specialised equipment or PPE (that the business will give) or what safety register needs should be stuck to for admission to work.
Communicate these needs clearly towards the entry permit holders to ensure that there’s without doubt what is needed of entry permit holders to achieve legitimate safe admission to work. Then, regardless of the WHS Act notification provision, an entry permit holder can always be certain to provide “effective” notification towards the business, to ensure that these to adhere to the reasonable safety needs. When the entry permit holder doesn’t comply the business’ reasonable needs, then despite notice provision, they might be in breach of the entry permit conditions.