find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Lawyers advise on new OHS laws

Lawyers advise on new OHS laws

New model laws will harmonise occupational health and safety in every state except Western Australia from 2012.

NEW model laws will harmonise occupational health and safety in every state except Western Australia from 2012. 

The Workplace Relations Ministers' Council on Friday approved model provisions that will be adopted from 1 January 2012 as the Work Health and Safety Act.

For lawyers working in the area, advice to clients is centering around ensuring they take steps to ensure the business and officers comply with the laws when they commence. 

Deacons OHS practice leader Michael Tooma and partner Barry Sherriff, who worked on the model laws, said there have been a number of significant changes to the Model Act since the draft was released for public comment. This includes a new definition of officer and due diligence, and a consultation obligation between duty holders. 

The OHS experts said the new definition of due diligence is a welcome amendment as it provides certainty to officers in relation to the extent of their duty to exercise due diligence. 

Tooma and Sherriff said clients should be aware that it typically takes 18 months to 2 years to undertake and embed organisational and policy change of the significance that will be required by the model laws. 

Business has welcomed the decision by the Council to agree to a model OHS Act, but called on Western Australia to speed its progress towards participating in the national system. 

Business Council of Australia chief executive Katie Lahey said the model OHS Act is a significant improvement on the 10 statutes and 400 regulations that existed previously across Australia. 

"Harmonisation of occupational health and safety laws is one of the most important issues for businesses which operate across borders in Australia," Lahey said.

"Having many different systems for workplace safety across Australia imposes unnecessary costs on business with no benefit in terms [of] better safety outcomes. Different regulations also impede the movement of workers across jurisdictions."

Lahey said harmonisation of workplace safety laws is one of the greatest tests for the effectiveness of cooperative federalism through COAG.

Lahey said it is "disappointing" that Western Australia has decided not to enact the model Act at this stage. But, she said, "I am pleased the state has agreed to continue to work towards harmonisation with the new national system and to participate in Safe Work Australia". 

She said Western Australia should "speed its progress" towards participating in the national system. 

"For there to be a truly effective and efficient national system of workplace safety it needs the involvement of every jurisdiction in Australia."

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Lawyers advise on new OHS laws
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Scales of Justice, ALA, right-to-die law
‘Right-to-die’ laws would be a relief for terminally ill: ALA
The passage of an assisted dying bill through the lower house of Victorian Parliament has been haile...
Diversity top of agenda for future WA Law Society president
The advancement of diversity in the Western Australian legal profession will be one of the key items...
Oct 23 2017
How to fail well
The legal profession is due for an attitude adjustment when it comes to perceived failures, accordin...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...