As a result of the Queensland Government’s “Improving Safety for Queenslanders at Work” Policy, Work Health and Safety laws in Queensland have changed effective 22 October 2015.
The amendments to the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 are as follows:
- WHS entry permit holders allowed to enter a workplace immediately if they suspect a contravention has occurred and provide notice of entry as soon as is reasonably practicable afterwards, removing the requirement to provide at least 24 hours’ notice of entry;
- the power for a trained health and safety representative (HSR) to direct a worker in their work group to cease to work if they have a reasonable concern that to carry out the work would expose the worker to a serious and immediate or imminent risk to the health and safety;
- allow HSRs to request the immediate assistance of any person at the workplace, removing the requirement for at least 24 hours’ notice before the assistant can access the workplace;
- remove the penalty for failing to provide notice of entry to inquire into a suspected contravention of the WHS Act, consult and advise workers and make copies of documents relevant to a suspected contravention. This penalty does not exist in the model WHS laws;
- reduce the maximum penalty for contravening WHS entry permit conditions from 200 penalty units to 100 penalty units, to restore consistency with the model WHS laws.
Members should also be aware that amendments have been made to the Electrical Safety Act 2002, which will commence in the near future.