Health Informatics

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Occupational Safety and Health

Occupational Safety and Health


Continuing the theme of national consolidation, the process of harmonization of Australia's differing occupational health and safety (OHS) laws progressed throughout 2011, with an ambitious scheduled commencement date of 1 January 2012. The history of the harmonization process and a brief summary of the substance of the proposed new regime are set out in last year's review. The harmonization process depends upon the passage by each of the states and territories of model legislation developed by Safe Work Australia (SWA): the Work Health and Safety Act. The key feature of the model legislation is the imposition of a primary duty of care on a person 'conducting a business or undertaking' to ensure, 'so far as reasonably practicable', the health and safety of 'workers engaged or caused to be engaged by the person' and 'workers whose activities in carrying out work are in?uenced or directed by the person' while the workers are at work (clauses 18 and 19). This primary duty is supplemented by a range of speci?c duties applicable to a broader range of persons (clauses 20-29) and an obligation on of?cers of businesses or undertakings to exercise due diligence in ensuring that the business or undertaking complies with any duty or obligations under the Act (clause 27).

During 2011, SWA continued to work on model regulations and codes of practice, releasing draft versions for public comment in September. Of particu- lar note is the draft code of practice on Work Health and Safety Consultation, Co-Operation and Co-Ordination. It provides guidance on the implementation of the obligation in clause 46 of the model Act for duty-holders to consult, cooperate and coordinate activities with all other persons who have a duty in relation to the same matter. The draft code makes it clear that this innovative feature of the model legislation imposes a concrete horizontal obligation on duty-holders to work cooperatively in areas of common responsibility. Other developments in 2011 include the National Compliance and Enforcement Policy to coordinate a nationally consistent approach to compliance and enforcement across jurisdictions, and Transitional Principles for Implementing the Model WHS Act to encourage harmonized transitional arrangements among the states. Under the transitional principles, sectors where the regulations intro- duce 'a new or signi?cantly different set of duties' have been given an additional 12 months to comply with the new laws (Kuchuk & Huysmans, 1998).

TASK 1: Difference between OSHA Act and OSHA Regulation

The protection of workers against occupational hazards requires action in the company that goes beyond the mere formal compliance with a predetermined set more or less comprehensive, duties and obligations of business and, indeed, the simple correction to subsequent risk situations and expressed. Prevention planning from the time of project design business, the initial assessment of occupational risks and regularly updated as circumstances are altered, the management of a coherent and globalization of appropriate preventive action measures to nature of the identified risks and monitoring the effectiveness of these measures constitute the basic elements of the new ...
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