HR Division’s New Year Message
Have a safe and prosperous 2013!
As we begin a brand new year HR Division wishes our clients, subscribers, friends and business partners all the best for the year to come.
HR Division will be available and always happy to assist you should you have any questions regarding your WorkCover or how to make savings to your premium costs.
We look forward to another great year working side-by-side with you to make savings in your WorkCover premium.
Health and Safety News Review
Owning the Work Health and Safety Act in your business.
The test drive is done. Now it’s up to you to own the Work Health and Safety Act in your business.
National harmonization of Work Health and Safety has been sitting on the horizon for a good many years. It has since been drafted and tested. You might even say that a few states have given the Act 2011 a test drive, ie. NSW, Queensland, ACT and the Commonwealth. Now it is finally up and running in all states and territories bar Western Australia and Victoria (refer to Q&A).
The questions that arise for businesses now centre on the implementation and application of the Work Health and Safety Act.
How do your workplace practices, skills, expertise align to the requirements of the new Act?
Your business knew how to respond and was familiar with functioning under the Occupational Health and Safety Act of your state. Will this same knowledge suffice for the national law?
It’s time for your business to test its mettle, to demonstrate compatibility with the national Work Health and Safety Act*.
* Victoria’s legislation remains the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004, and Western Australia’s is the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1984.
New laws in a new year
Q: What new legislation will be enforced in 2013?
A: The national harmonization of the Model Work Health and Safety Act initially introduced in a draft in 2009 has made further progress in the national occupational health and safety landscape. From January 1st 2013 both South Australia and Tasmania will align with New South Wales, the Northern Territory, Queensland, the Australian Capital Territory and the Commonwealth.
Be aware that transitional provisions unique to each state for the Work Health and Safety Regulations may commence as of 1st January 2013.
The Work Health and Safety Act
Tasmania and South Australia have finally harmonized with Work Health and Safety. The Legislation is called the WHS Act 2012. The content of this Act is the same as the WHS Act 2011 that has been operational in all other States since 1 January 2012, with the exception of Victoria and Western Australia.
Having a new legislation to replace existing legislations is like upgrading to a new car.
When I upgraded from my car to a new model I went through a process of acquainting myself to the new aspects and improvements of the car. I could have just ignored this process, but this would mean making an assumption that the improvements and new aspects would have no affect to my driving experience.
Perhaps, I could ignore the new improvements as I would not be using all the new aspects of the car. After all the fundamental parts that I need, I am familiar with; I am positive that the light indicators will always be on the left side of the steering wheel.
Business owners and Companies in South Australia and Tasmania, you can also take this attitude to the WHS Act 2012. After all, both States have had safety Acts and these Acts had the same general intent as the new legislations, ie. to maintain safe work environments and safe work practices. Therefore why do we need to have a new Act?
This is where the analogy of having a new car and a new Legislation ends. A word of caution, it is important for business owners and companies alike to familiarise themselves with the new Law for getting caught unaware could be a costly experience.
Direct from the Authorities:
ACT: Part 20 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, and Section 2 of the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 contains a number of transitional provisions which will ease the move from the Work Safety Act 2008 to the new Act.
NSW: Various transitional arrangements have been put in place to support implementation of the work health and safety laws; and depending on the provision these have expired or are in the final stages.
N.T: A range of transitional arrangements for the Work Health and Safety Regulations which were due to expire on 1 January 2013 have been extended. NT WorkSafe will continue to work with businesses to understand the new regulatory requirements and put measures in place to ensure compliance.
QLD: To smooth the transition to the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 transitional arrangements have been included that delay the commencement of certain parts of the regulation to give duty holders time to comply with the new arrangements.
S.A: Any significantly new regulation requirements will have transitional periods to provide businesses and workers with time to prepare for the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (SA).
TAS: The Tasmanian Government has adopted and commenced implementation of the Work Health and Safety (Transitional and Consequential Provisions) Act 2012 as of 1st January 2013 supporting the harmonization of a national model for Work Health and Safety as developed by Safe Work Australia.
W.A: The Western Australian Government is not intending to adopt the whole of the model WHS Bill. WA will likely adopt the vast majority of the proposed model laws.
VIC: The Victorian Government has confirmed that Victoria will not adopt the national model workplace health and safety laws in their current form.
Kicking those New Year health and safety resolutions!
Put the health and safety of your workers first. Make it your resolution for 2013.
A Health and Safety resolution
The objective of a health and safety resolution is to be self-motivated and to behave safely, even when no one is there to see.
The benefits of a health and safety resolution are numerous to your workplace, you, your family, your clients and the public. Here are just three benefits:
1. Attention to the implications of your behavioural decisions. For example:
- Will I get enough sleep to work safely tomorrow?
- How will another beer affect my health and fitness for work?
- Is it safe to leave the bucket on the stairs?
2. Ongoing education to expand your knowledge of health and safety practices.
- Join your Health and Safety Committee.
- Take a first aid course.
- Attend and participate in all safety training programs offered at work
3. Leading by example to demonstrate your personal commitment to health and safety practices.
- Wear all necessary personal protective equipment.
- Follow safety procedures.
- Report near miss incidents or hazards.
Prioritising health and safety encourages a safe workplace around you, your colleagues, suppliers, visitors, neighbours and the public.
With the benefits of a health and safety resolution in mind, make improving health and safety not only yours, but also your colleagues’ resolution for 2013.
Leading health and safety in your workplace
Demonstrate a proactive commitment to reducing the rate of injuries and illness in your workplace. Don’t wait until Safe Work Week 2013 to hold your own workplace event promoting a workplace culture of safety.
Workplace Health and Safety Queensland advises that your organisation’s safe work week can be turned into a great opportunity to:
- Encourage employees to express any safety concerns they may have
- Provide an open forum for ideas to help reduce injuries
- Talk with new employees and young workers about the importance of health and safety and workplace inductions
- Get together with suppliers to consider how your organisations can work together to achieve a safer and healthier workplace for all.
A workplace fatality has an unacceptably high cost to you your staff your workplace your business community and the wider community that you operate in.
According to the most recently published monthly report dated August 2012 the number of fatalities has been on the rise across Australia.
A rise in workplace fatalities has triggered union calls for greater action to prevent comparatively more deaths occurring in the line of work. According to Safe Work Australia the top three industries where most fatalities were reported were Transport & storage (34), Agriculture, forestry & fishing (30), and Construction (23).From January to August 2012, the jurisdictions that accounted for the most notifiable fatalities was New South Wales (41), followed by Queensland (25) and then Western Australia (12).