Health and Safety Regulations in Australia
Within the country of Australia, the governing body for health and safety is referred to as Safe Work Australia. They are responsible for releasing, maintaining and managing all regulations and codes of practice for anyone working within a professional environment. These legislations are commonly abbreviated to WHS/ OH&S acts – and information on them can be found via the business.gov.au website.
Who creates these legislations?
The acts included within the legislations are created by Safe Work and they provide a general overview of how a business or premises owner should ensure that a workplace is safe for all present. These acts are readily available for download online and provide information relating to all aspects of H&S management within a building, or any physical workspace.
Who manages the regulations?
Regulations relate to the individual guidelines that comprise acts – and the most recent update to those that pertain to health and safety regulations in Australia were delivered in 2011 (the Work Health and Safety Act). The regulations are managed by Safe Work Australia; so whenever changes and updates are made, information will be released to the general public and business owners.
Who is responsible for adhering to the regulations and legislations?
In all instances the business owner, employer, or property manager is responsible for ensuring that all modern safety legislation is adhered to. Failure to comply can result in severe penalties – ranging from hefty fines to prison sentences, in extreme cases. This is one of the main reasons why many businesses within the country are considering taking on the services of regulating agencies.
What is a regulating agency?
An agency that maintains adherence of health and safety laws is often referred to as a regulating agency, or regulator. These agencies are often employed as a third party by businesses that may not have to time to manage their health and safety compliance, or don’t have the technical knowledge to do so.
Within the country, any business hoping to trade professionally is required to ensure that all health laws and safety legislations are complied with. These laws only apply to premises that act as professional environments for more than one person – including small, individual offices. If the office isn’t owned by the business then it is the responsibility of the manager to ensure that it complies with all regulations.
In the event of injury or even death – one of the first factors that will be investigated is the adherence to H&S laws. If any discrepancies are discovered, then the responsibility will often fall on the company owner. This is why it can be important to check that all legislation is being followed, or hire a team that are capable of doing so on behalf of the business.