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National OH&S Review issues paper released


Monday 2 June 2008

The Federal Government has released an issues paper and call for submissions on the review of national OH&S laws.

The review will examine OHS legislation in the State, Territory and Commonwealth jurisdictions. The Review Panel is then to make recommendations to the Workplace Relations Ministers Council on the optimal structure and content of a model OHS Act that is capable of being adopted in all jurisdictions.

The review includes an examination of the following areas:

a) duties of care, including the scope and limits of duties;

b) the nature and structure of offences, including defences;

c) scope and coverage, including definitions;

d) workplace-based consultation, participation and representation provisions, including the appointment, powers and functions of health and safety representatives and/or committees;

e) enforcement and compliance, including the role and powers of OHS inspectors, and the application of enforcement tools including codes of practice;

f) regulation making powers and administrative processes, including mechanisms for improving cross-jurisdictional cooperation and dispute resolution;

g) permits and licensing arrangements for those engaged in high risk work and the use of certain plant and hazardous substances;

h) the role of OHS regulatory agencies in providing education, advice and assistance to duty holders; and

i) other matters the Panel identifies as being important to health and safety that should be addressed in a model OHS Act.

The full terms of reference, including the scope of the review, are set out in the issues paper, which can be found in the document library of the SISA website. SISA members are encouraged to examine the issues paper with a view to assisting with the drafting of a submission to the review. Individual members may also wish to provide a submission of their own. Submissions close 11 July 2008.