Independent review finds model WHS laws operating as intended

The review of the model WHS laws is complete and the report is available on the Safe Work Australia website.

“I commend the review report to WHS ministers for their consideration. On behalf of Safe Work Australia, I extend my thanks to Marie Boland for undertaking this important work and engaging widely with the community to understand how the model WHS laws are working in practice” said Safe Work Australia Chair Ms Diane Smith-Gander.

Safe Work Australia is committed to ensuring the model WHS laws are as effective as possible to keep Australian workers healthy and safe and will continue to conduct regular reviews.” said Ms Smith-Gander.

The review report makes 34 recommendations designed to enhance the WHS framework. Key recommendations relate to the model WHS Regulations and Codes of Practice, including making regulations on psychological health, higher penalties and other measures to strengthen the compliance and enforcement framework and enhance deterrence, and clarifying requirements for meaningful WHS consultation, representation and participation to improve safety outcomes.

“The model WHS laws are largely operating as intended but I am recommending some changes to provide clarity and to drive greater consistency in the application and enforcement of the laws across jurisdictions,” said independent reviewer Ms Marie Boland.

The three-tier legal framework is widely supported, and there is a view that it is sufficiently flexible to accommodate the evolving nature of work and changing work relationships,” said Ms Boland.

The review report is with WHS ministers for consideration and their response to the recommendations is expected later in the year.

In 2018 Safe Work Australia appointed Ms Boland, a leader in WHS policy and regulation and former Executive Director of SafeWork SA, to conduct a review of the model WHS laws in consultation with key stakeholders including regulators, businesses and the general public.

This review meets WHS ministers’ commitment to review the model WHS laws regularly and ensure they continue operating effectively.

Safe Work Australia is the national policy body responsible for the development and evaluation of the model WHS laws.

Read the Review of the model WHS laws: Final report.

More information about the review can be found on the Safe Work Australia website

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