WA plans its own version of WHS harmonisation

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WA plans its own version of WHS harmonisation

The WA Government plans to pass its own version of the national model Work Health and Safety laws in November, according to a ministerial advisory panel.

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The WA Government plans to pass its own version of the national model Work Health and Safety laws in November, according to a ministerial advisory panel.

The Ministerial Advisory Panel on Safety Legislative Reform held its first meeting last month, after being established within the Resources Safety Division of the WA Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) to provide advice to the Minister for Mines and Petroleum.

In its report on the meeting, the panel said the WA Government’s plan is for WorkSafe WA to administer legislation based on Safe Work Australia’s model WHS laws. It would cover general industry and workplaces involved with mining and petroleum would be covered by a separate act and regulations — the WHS (Resources) legislation.

95% compliance with mining laws

The panel said the WHS (Resources) legislation would contain the best elements of the model WHS Mining Act and Regulations. These were developed by Safe Work Australia, under the National Mine Safety Framework, and the legislation would be 95% compliant with those laws.

The panel said the plan was for major hazard facilities (MHFs) safety to move from WA’s Dangerous Goods Act into the WHS (Resources) legislation, “effectively combining mining, MHFs and petroleum safety into one act and regulations”.

No compromise on key issues

The panel said although it aimed to have the bills for the mirror and resources legislation tabled in Parliament “in the spring session” and passed through both Houses in November, these outcomes were “dependent on the parliamentary drafting process”.

The panel confirmed the WA Government was standing by its decision to deviate from the model WHS laws in four specific areas; namely, it will still exclude model provisions on union right of entry, the capacity of HSRs to direct that work stop, the reverse onus of proof in discrimination matters and penalty levels, although this last item is “subject to some discussion”.
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