We need calm-onisation with harmonisation


After all the panic and stress late last year, the harmonisation deadline seems to have come and gone much like Y2K. I don’t have much interest in legislation, in fact, even a healthy disdain for it but here is a quick harmonisation update by State from SJ at the Safety Toolshed

We need calm-onisation with harmonisation

Posted on February 20, 2012 by The Safety Nerd

What has happened to harmonisation?  There was so much ‘hoo ha’ in 2011 that OHS as we know it was coming to an end and in walks this new and improved WHS.  Hold up, did I miss something here?  Isn’t harmonisation supposed to be about harmonising all the states laws to make it easier to comply, save the economy loads of money and end of the day reduce injuries?  From what I’ve heard speaking to owners of businesses, it has just made it all the more confusing which was exactly what we were supposed to get away from.

In the beginning….when god created harmonisation…..the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments committed to the harmonisation of OHS laws.  An “Adam and Eve” model was made called the model WHS Act and Reg, with the intention that all jurisdictions would mirror this.  Who were we kidding, we are dealing with politicians here, promising to cross their hearts and hope to die, stick a needle in my eye.  Each jurisdiction wanted their hands in the pie making minor but oh so necessary variations, some rolling it out as promised when the clock struck midnight 31st December 2011, others have said, ‘wait….it’s taken a lot longer than we anticipated to get it together and really we have just left it to the last minute so we need more time’.

So, enough of my bleating…where are we really up to with these harmonised laws?  Well currently our position is this:

The Commonwealth rolled out the Act, Reg and codes of practice on time, as did NSW.

QLD also commenced when the clock struck midnight, but are amending their own codes of practice to be consistent with the new Act and Reg.

ACT are also up to date except they haven’t adopted 100% of the codes.

NT are also up to date, but are keeping their mining Codes until 1st March 2012

SA although they were first to start organising themselves with the Act it was withdrawn from the SA parliament for procedural reasons and have tabled a debate this year with a view of commencing the laws 1st Jan 2013.

VIC looks like they will enact the legislation but they want to assess the impacts and benefits to Victoria first and have said they need another 12 months to make this assessment.

TAS are not going ahead until 1st Jan 2013

WA are not adopting all of the Act because they oppose four areas:

  • the changes to the penalties as they view them as being excessively punitive
  • the union right of entry will not be introduced because it already exists under the Industrial Relations Act 1979 (WA)
  • Directions from Health and Safety Reps to stop work when it’s unsafe will be  opposed because WA believes workers shouldn’t have to wait for a HSR to stop work
  • Reverse onus of proof for prosecutions of discrimination, coercive or misleading conduct is opposed.

So there we have it, onward and upward I say!

The Safety Nerd x

Safety Nerd

Owner and Principal Consultant at Riskology
I’ve been in safety my whole career. Well nearly my whole career, I started off as a secretary for a recruitment company, then dabbled in HR whilst stumbling onto safety, which I fell head over heels ….literally in love (I know safety nerd alert) with safety after reading the book Lessons from Longford by Anthony Hopkins at the age of 19 and haven’t looked back since. I had a few friends that had been permanently injured in their early 20s and my Dad nearly lost his foot in a workplace accident when I was a twinkle in his eye and the Lessons from Longford book made so much sense to me. I started my life in safety knee high to a grasshopper working for Aristocrat in the 90’s, a gaming machine company in Sydney where I introduced national safety handbooks, alerts, industry focus groups and decided this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life; during this time I also headed off to Uni and completed an MBA specialising in industrial relations, the closest qualification at the time related to safety, since then there’s been an explosion of courses so I then got my teeth into a masters of safety. I then went onto a safety role at Coca Cola Amatil and tackled the logistics of ensuring multiple sites were compliant from call centres to sales to manufacturing workers. This was an interesting time when new manufacturing plants were opening and becoming fully automated, never a dull moment in the world of safety. I’m a bit of a car buff so then moved into a safety role at Inchcape, you know the guys that own Subaru. I was looking after the safety for 45 sites and came up with some great strategies to get them all confident and running with safety. After saving my employers in total over $1.5million in workers comp and setting up some great strategies I decided to jump ship and moved away from the big smoke for love. That was a couple of years ago now and that’s when Riskology was born. I love helping other businesses create safer workplaces helping them through the minefield of legislation with simple easy solutions with the end goal of making workplaces safer. The safety industry has changed significantly in recent years, with new legislation and tougher penalties. Small businesses are expected to comply just as much as large businesses, that’s where I come in, helping to bridge the gap and cut through the jargon. Safety doesn’t have to be the elephant in the room, good safety practices is good for business. Qualifications Master’s degree in Occupational Health and Safety Master’s degree in Business Industrial Relations Accredited Lead Auditor Graduate Certificate Health and Safety Management Systems Cert IV – Workplace Training, OHS, HR(and Dip), Secretarial

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