At the start of last year, the rules that governed work health and safety began to change. Australia’s OHS laws started to take new shape as they went through dramatic reforms that included a title change as well.
No longer are there simply Occupational Health and Safety laws to abide by but there’s Work Health and Safety regulations to adhere to as well and WHS is going to make quite a difference. If you ignore these new regulations you could end up paying over 3 million dollars in fines so paying attention to these rules and new legislation is very important for any business.
If you are an officer or high level associate in a company, it is important to understand what “due diligence” means. You can’t just stand by and think that the powers that be owning the company are in control of every facet of the business when it comes to employee risk because you have a legal obligation to warn people of any foreseeable hazards under your supervision. If you aren’t careful when it comes to alerting people to the health and safety issues that relate to their working area and positions, you’re also putting yourself at risk.
With the changes that are taking place with WHS, companies and their employees that supervise members of a team are finding themselves responsible for even more people. No longer is the definition of the workplace and worker limited to just those they used to be responsible for; now they’re even responsible for day laborers and contractors as well. What this means is that under the new regulations the employer and managers that hire and work with these temporary workers are responsible for them when it comes to health and safety and that they need to be prepared and have the proper measures in place for when the worst-case scenario happens.
Consulting your employees about OHS is no longer just up to you when it comes to making the details clear. You have to make sure to state things in a certain way and if you vary from their basic wording then you are going to have to redo the sessions. WHS requires you to make every facet of the regulations clear and concise, and state them in a certain way; otherwise, you’ll end up being liable for even more costly fines.
The changes taking place due to the WHS range from more than just health and safety operations but also discriminatory conduct. Now, if you are a manager who acts negligently you won’t just get in trouble from your employer, you can end up having to pay fees from the court system or be prosecuted as a criminal. With the OHS/WHS changes, there are many fines and new punishments that can take place that you’ll want to avoid.
The WHS act is also a blanket act that affects every business. It’s not just certain sizes of businesses and certain amounts of money needed for them to be relevant to this act. No matter how big or small your business is you’ll have a wide range of new obligations that you are required to fulfill. Bottom line, run your business properly and know the difference between OHS and WHS.
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