Australian Work Health & Safety law, or WHS, addresses both safe design and workplace (occupational) safety. It imposes duties upon designers, manufacturers, importers, and suppliers of plant, structures, and substances.
WHS legislation is powerful and elegant, and it yields a lot of useful content, whether you are in an Australian jurisdiction or not. It is based on the UK’s approach to health and safety at work, but it has incorporated lessons learned from four decades of experience there.
However, Australia’s federal system complicates the application of our laws. The Safety Artisan will attempt to cut through this complexity and explain the core concepts needed for practical success.
WHS Codes of Practice
Safe Work Australia notes that:
They also go on to say:
An approved code of practice applies to anyone who has a duty of care in the circumstances described in the code. In most cases, following an approved code of practice would achieve compliance with the health and safety duties in a jurisdiction’s WHS Act and Regulations.
Like regulations, codes of practice deal with particular issues and do not cover all hazards or risks that may arise. Health and safety duties require you to consider all risks associated with work, not only those risks that regulations and codes of practice exist for.
While approved codes of practice are not law, they are admissible in court proceedings. Courts may regard an approved code of practice as evidence of what is known about a hazard, risk or control and may rely on the relevant code to determine what is reasonably practicable in the circumstances.