The commencement of some sections of Queensland’s mirror Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 has been delayed until 1 January 2014. AMMA workplace policy officer Luke Achterstraat provides this update.

In August 2012, the Queensland Government held a roundtable discussion with industry groups and unions on the operation of the new laws. Prior to the meeting, Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie stated that the Government did ‘not want to impose unnecessary burdens on business’, and would ‘trust’ employers to ‘do the right thing’ on safety under less prescriptive WHS legislation.

The roundtable review recommended that Parliament consider:

• removing contractors and subcontractors from the definition of ‘worker’ in the WHS Act, in conjunction with a review of the term ‘worker’ in other legislation;
• changing or removing right-of-entry provisions;
• declining to adopt a number of second-stage model Codes of Practice, such as those relating to construction work;
• establishing special working groups to determine the feasibility of adopting new asbestos regulations and model Codes relating to fatigue and bullying; and
• declining to adopt regulations relating to audiometric testing until the costs and impacts of doing so are determined.

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, on its updated transitional provisions site, confirmed that the roundtable raised a number of issues relating to provisions of the Regulation that have not yet commenced. It says these will be delayed until 2014 to ensure they don’t commence before any proposed changes resulting from the roundtable are considered.

Some of these relevant provisions are:

• s58 – audiometric testing;
• s217 – protective structures on earthmoving machinery;
• ss425 and 429 – asbestos registers and asbestos management plans (relating to buildings built between January 1990 and December 2003);
• ss432-433 – asbestos management plans for naturally occurring asbestos, and plan reviews;
• part 8.5, division 1 (ss435-444) – asbestos at the workplace (health monitoring); and
• s779 – registration of plant design (concrete placement booms and prefabricated form work).

Transitional arrangements relating to high-risk work have also been extended to January 2014, Workplace Health and Safety says.

AMMA’s policy team will continue to track developments in this area. Members interested in AMMA’s Health and Safety Advisory Group should contact AMMA’s policy team on (02) 9211 3566.