In Australia, each state and territory has their own Work Health and Safety (WHS), or Occupational Health and Safety (OHS), legislation and each state and territory’s regulators are responsible for ensuring compliance. In 2011, SafeWork Australia developed ‘model WHS laws’ to be implemented across Australia.
The model WHS laws have been implemented in all jurisdictions except VIC and WA. Despite reforms for harmonisation of WHS laws, there are slight differences and this may be confusing for organisations or employers operating across more than one state. Below we highlight areas that have recently been updated or introduced including industrial manslaughter, increased penalties or what the current penalties are, and whether insurability on WHS fines are unlawful.
What you need to know
- In NSW and soon in WA, it is considered unlawful to have insurance or indemnity against a WHS fine or penalty;
- In NSW, VIC, QLD, ACT and potentially WA soon, industrial manslaughter is an offence