Codes of practice

A code of practice provides detailed information on how you can achieve the standards required under the work health and safety (WHS) laws.

These do not replace the WHS laws, but codes of practice can be issued to help make understanding what you have to do a little easier.

An inspector can refer to a code of practice when issuing an improvement or prohibition notice.

Under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, codes of practice are admissible in court proceedings.

Courts may regard a code of practice as evidence of what is known about a hazard, risk or control, and rely on it to determine what is 'reasonably practicable' in the circumstances to which the code relates.

It is recognised that equivalent or better ways of achieving the required work health and safety outcomes may be possible. For that reason compliance with codes of practice is not mandatory providing that any other method used provides an equivalent or higher standard of work health and safety than suggested by the code of practice.

As well as codes of practice, Safe Work Australia has guidance material that can also help you achieve the standards under WHS laws.

Codes of practice

Three codes of practice were updated on 1 April 2016. They are:

The table of amendments at the end of each code summarise the changes.

The other WHS codes of practice available are:

Pre-WHS legislation codes of practice

These codes of practice were developed based on older laws which were replaced with the Work Health and Safety Act and Regulation. However they are still current and can still be used to help you meet your WHS requirements.

We have begun to review these codes with industry.

Further information

We have also published an information guide on the safe management of synthetic mineral fibres (SMF) –  glasswool and rockwool which is intended to complement SafeWork Australia’s guide to handling refractory ceramic fibres.