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National OH&S laws update

Nov 19, 2011Update

Members are advised that work on the draft model National Work Health and Safety Regulations, codes of practice is nearing completion.

Due to the time constraints for implementation of the new legislation, the proposed timelines will probably be not met. This has lead to NSW WorkCover putting in place a number of draft transitional arrangements for existing training providers. Training for OHS representatives and OHS committees will generally be able to continue, and workplaces can maintain their existing consultation arrangements.

Proposed Transitional Arrangements For Existing OHS Representatives And OHS Committee Members

Under the WHS Act, Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) will replace OHS representatives, and Health and Safety Committees (HSCs) will replace OHS Committees.

In order to assist our depots’ transition to the new legislation, WorkCover intends to allow those OHS representatives and OHS committee members who have been elected within the two years preceding commencement of the new legislation to become HSRs, and OHS committee members to become HSC members from January 1, 2012, provided these arrangements are regarded as continuing to meet the consultation needs and obligations of the organisation.

Proposed Transitional Training Arrangements

As the role of an HSR includes additional powers and functions compared to an OHS representative, including the ability to issue a Provisional Improvement Notice (PIN) and to direct that unsafe work cease, there will be an option for the transitional HSRs to undertake an approved gap training course if they wish to exercise their full powers under the new legislation. Workcover NSW is currently developing gap training, (still in discussion) which can be delivered by existing OHS consultation training providers.

Completion of the current four-day WorkCover course in OHS Consultation within the past two years will be a pre-requisite for any HSR wishing to undertake the gap training course.