In brief - WHS Act amendments came into force on 16 May 2014

On 16 May 2014 amendments to the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld) came into effect. 

WHS Bill designed to close loopholes

In our previous article, WHS Bill to prevent unions from using loopholes to force their way into worksites passed by Queensland parliament, we discussed the amendments to the work health and safety laws contained in the Work Health and Safety and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2014 (Qld) passed by parliament on 3 April 2014. 
Specifically, this article focused on the amendments relating to the new requirement for WHS permit holders to provide at least 24 hours' written notice before entering a workplace. Further, the article outlined increases to fines and penalties. 

Amendments to WHS Act in Queensland are now in effect

On 16 May 2014, the following amendments to the WHS Act (Qld) came into effect: 
  • The power of health and safety representatives to direct workers to cease unsafe work is no longer in effect. Workers, however, still maintain the right to cease unsafe work.
  • Health and safety representatives will now have the power to issue provisional improvement notices
  • Persons conducting a business or undertaking are no longer required to provide a list of health and safety representatives to the WHS regulator. However, a current list of health and safety representatives must be displayed in the workplace.
  • WHS permit holders are now required to give at least 24 hours', but not more than 14 days' notice that they are entering the workplace to investigate a suspected contravention.
  • Penalties have now increased to $20,000 for failure to comply with any WHS permit conditions.
  • WHS permit holders are now able to be penalised for failing to comply with the WHS permit notification requirements.
  • Any person assisting a health and safety representative is required to give at least 24 hours', but not more than 14 days' notice that they are accessing the workplace.
  • Codes of practice in Queensland are now able to be adopted, varied or revoked without national consultation.
Importantly, the loophole which allowed WHS permit holders to gain access to workplaces without notice has now been closed in Queensland. These amendments will give back control of workplaces to employers. 

This note just speaks broadly and for general information and is not intended to be comprehensive. You should not rely on this as a final statement or as advice about your own situation.

This is commentary published by Colin Biggers & Paisley for general information purposes only. This should not be relied on as specific advice. You should seek your own legal and other advice for any question, or for any specific situation or proposal, before making any final decision. The content also is subject to change. A person listed may not be admitted as a lawyer in all States and Territories. © Colin Biggers & Paisley, Australia 2024.

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