Legislative amendments 1 July 2019

Amendments to the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act) and Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017 (WHS Regulation) came into effect on 1 July 2019.

The WHS Act was amended to include provisions from the Rural Workers Accommodation Act 1969, which was repealed on 1 July 2019.

WHS Regulation amendments were made to increase fees and to better align with the Model Work Health and Safety regulation - the national framework.

Some of these changes included:-

  • Fees
    • a one-off increase of the base licence fee for major hazard facilities from $42,228 to $54,300
    • WHS fees adjusted to the Consumer Price Index (CPI)
    • introduction of a fee unit scheme so that in future years fees will automatically be indexed to CPI.
  • Technical amendments (ie to definitions)
    • definition changes relating to concrete placing booms, lifts, pressure piping and turbines.
  • Hazardous chemicals
    • changes to allow that hazardous chemicals supplied, manufactured, transferred or decanted from their original containers, from 1 January 2017, must be labelled in accordance with the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling (GHS) requirements. Specific GHS content stated under Schedule 9 applies to AgVet chemicals with only a group of AgVet veterinary chemicals, listed in the Poisons Standard, exempt from this requirement.
  • Lead
    • changes to the definition of lead risk work
    • the frequency with which a PCBU must conduct biological monitoring of workers who carry out lead risk work
    • reduction in blood lead levels for the immediate removal of workers from carrying out lead risk work
    • thresholds at which a PCBU may allow a worker to return to lead risk work
    • these requirements are subject to a two year transitional period from 1 July 2019 to 1 July 2021 (refer to exemption 006/19, gazetted 28 June 2019).
  • Diving work
    • changes to the competencies required for workers conducting general diving work
    • competencies align with AS / NZS 2815 series Training and certification of occupational divers.
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