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Harmonisation of Work, Health and Safety Laws

New national Work Health and Safety laws commenced on 1 January 2012 although Victoria has not yet adopted it but is expected to do so with modifications. All employers must be aware of these significant changes and ensure that all policies and procedures comply with the new laws and that duty holders are aware of their individual obligations.

Key changes include:

  1. Obligations extended to cover “workers” and not just “employees;”
  2. Positive obligations for officers of organisations to exercise due diligence;
  3. Extensive consultation duties;
  4. Significant increase in penalties.

As obligations will be expanded to cover “workers” (which includes contractors and subcontractors) current policies and procedures must be revised in order to comply with these expanded obligations.

Duties are non-delegable and duty holders will be individually responsible for compliance. It is essential that businesses identify all duty holders and ensure that they are aware of, and are trained to comply with, their duties.

Failing to comply with the new regime may result in significant penalties.

With less than one month to go, companies must act quickly to review and audit current practices and procedures.

Aitken Partners can come to your workplace and help prepare you for these significant changes, or for details of our seminar on 23 February please contact Andrew Clarke on aclarke@aitken.com.au.

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