WA launches review of OHS Act


WA launches review of OHS Act

A review of West Australia’s OHS legislation will consider the impact of WorkChoices on OHS and specifically its role in union right of entry.


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A review of West Australia’s OHS legislation will consider the impact of WorkChoices on OHS and specifically its role in union right of entry. 

A review of the state’s Act is conducted every five years in accordance with s61 of the WA OHS Act 1984 to assess the effectiveness of the Commission for OHS, WorkSafe and the objects and administration of the Act. 

Wickham Chambers Barrister, Richard Hooker, has been appointed to conduct the review. 

Discussion paper

The State Government released the discussion paper on the review this week, with the comment period closing in six weeks' time, on May 12. 

A brief summary of the major issues in the paper is outlined below. 

WorkChoices and its impact  

The paper asks whether operation of WorkChoices on the specific subject of right of entry represents any material threat to OHS in WA. 

It also asks that if there is a threat, are there any legislative or executive measures that can be taken to minimise that threat, for example the insertion of ‘right of entry’ provisions in the Act.

Whether there are any other ‘realistic’ threats to the operation and administration of the Act arising from WorkChoices is also canvassed. 

Quantity of OHS law 

The paper seeks comment on whether the current size of the regulations should be reduced or retained. 

It also asks what practical alternatives exist to assist work participants, with limited resources, in understanding and complying with their obligations.

OHS Tribunal under review  

The paper questions whether the operation and jurisdiction of the OHS Tribunal, set up after the Laing Review, are adequate. 

Specifically, it notes that there is no conferral of any jurisdiction for the Tribunal to exercise any general power to arbitrate about an OHS matter – it asks whether the Tribunal should be given power to provide resolution to all OHS disputes, problems or issues that have not been otherwise resolved. 

Whether the Tribunal could handle OHS matters of a ‘relatively complex’ nature is also questioned.

It also asks whether the Tribunal being apart of the WA IRC is advantageous or not. 

Bullying and stress 

The paper says that evidence suggests there is complex issues relating to building a case of an alleged failure to provide a safe system of work concerning ‘intangible’ hazards such as bullying and stress. 

In light of this, it asks what difficulties employees and their representatives have faced in reporting allegations of these types of hazards and whether those allegations were pursued.

Whether there are practical difficulties in taking steps to reduce intangible hazards is also canvassed. 

National standards 

The paper asks whether there are any steps that can be taken at the State level that will hasten the development of national standards through the Australian Safety and Compensation Council (ASCC). 

Whether the National OHS Strategy is sufficient in its content and whether the ASCC should take more proactive steps to achieve greater consistency in national standards. 

Discussion paper

Review of the WA OHS Act 1984 discussion paper.


Western Australian OHS law


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