Delays in drafting accompanying regulations mean the State Government’s Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act 2020 now won’t go into effect until March 2022.
Minister for Industrial Relations Stephen Dawson released exposure drafts of regulations for the Act on December 17. As a result, the new laws, which were originally intended to take effect in January 2022, will now take effect in March 2022.
The Act received the Governor’s assent in November 2020 but it can only be proclaimed once the accompanying regulations are complete. The new laws and regulations will be the biggest change to WA’s occupational safety and health system since the 1980s.
In a national first, the new laws will bring WHS requirements for general industry, mines and petroleum operations together under a single Act.
The changes align WA’s laws more closely with those of the other Australian states and territories and will significantly impact businesses, many of which will have to undertake a massive update of safety systems and practices.
CCIWA Principal Workplace Relations Advocate Paul Moss said it was disappointing it had taken the Government so long to prepare the regulations, which were expected to be ready earlier this year.
“It certainly would’ve been preferable for business to be given a full six months’ notice of the regulations, given the extensive nature of the changes,” Moss said.
“That said, the delayed effective date is clearly necessary if businesses are going to have some chance to adapt their systems and practices to meet the new requirements.”
Moss said he expects there may be further refining of the regulations as part of discussions between the Government, CCIWA and other stakeholders at the start of the new year. CCIWA members can provide him with their input at [email protected].
CCIWA’s WHS team can provide members with further general information and advice in relation to all aspects of work health and safety requirements.
For support working through your unique business operations, contact our WHS team on (08) 9365 7415, or via [email protected].