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ACCI speaks on behalf of businesses at a national and international level The Changing WHS Landscape Regulatory Reform – At What Cost? Toula Papadopoulos.

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Presentation on theme: "ACCI speaks on behalf of businesses at a national and international level The Changing WHS Landscape Regulatory Reform – At What Cost? Toula Papadopoulos."— Presentation transcript:

1 ACCI speaks on behalf of businesses at a national and international level The Changing WHS Landscape Regulatory Reform – At What Cost? Toula Papadopoulos Advisor – Work Health, Safety & Compensation

2 ACCI speaks on behalf of businesses at a national and international level About us ACCI is the peak council of Australian business associations Our member network consists of State/Territory Chambers of Commerce, national industry associations, bilateral and multilateral business organisations ACCI provides leadership for employers in all industry sectors including large and small business Currently our key focus is the employer representation and input on development of the national OHS Model Regulation Package Modern Workplace: Safer Workplace 2005 – 2015, ACCI Blueprint on national OHS reform

3 ACCI speaks on behalf of businesses at a national and international level Until now in Australia Each State and Territory is responsible for its own OHS legislation and regulation Different rules make it hard for businesses that operate in more than one jurisdiction ACT

4 ACCI speaks on behalf of businesses at a national and international level The changing OHS landscape A model WHS Act to serve as a template for each Australian jurisdiction Each State and Territory will now have harmonised legislation

5 ACCI speaks on behalf of businesses at a national and international level The expected benefits “It’s a 300 page Government questionnaire about cutting back on bureaucracy”

6 ACCI speaks on behalf of businesses at a national and international level The expected benefits Businesses that operate across State boundaries will find compliance easier Administration and other costs should decrease Opportunity to review and improve health and safety outcomes

7 ACCI speaks on behalf of businesses at a national and international level The changes Opportunity to make changes that reflect today’s workplace: Duty of care widened to include employees ‘Reasonably practicable’, ‘reasonable care’ and ‘due diligence’ will now pervade the regulations The States currently have different legislation, so the changes will be different for each of them  More flexible hours  More diverse work locations  Work from home  Greater use of independent contractors  Changes to labour hire

8 ACCI speaks on behalf of businesses at a national and international level The changes - PCBUs ‘Principal duty of care’ is now attached to the ‘PCBU’ (Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking) The PCBU must ensure the health and safety of workers so far as is ‘reasonably practicable’ The ‘PCBU’ applies to organisations and people who previously fell outside the primary duty obligations Responsibility is not only to employees, but also to other workers The PCBU has a ‘duty of care’

9 ACCI speaks on behalf of businesses at a national and international level The changes – Responsibilities The duty of care is prescribed in the Model WHS Act Responsibilities will extend to:  the work environment  plant and structures  safe systems of work  the use/handling/storage/transport of plant/structures/ substances  access to adequate facilities for the welfare of employees  provision of relevant information, training, instruction or supervision  appropriate monitoring of the workplace and the health of workers

10 ACCI speaks on behalf of businesses at a national and international level The changes – Due diligence Due diligence involves:  Up to date knowledge of work health and safety systems  Understanding of the hazards and risks associated with the operation of the business  Ensuring risks associated with those hazards are eliminated or minimised  Ensuring timely responses when information is received about incidents  Ensuring compliance with the duties and the obligations that exist under the Act

11 ACCI speaks on behalf of businesses at a national and international level The changes -Employees, HSRs and Unions The Act prescribes specific duties for employees Health and Safety representatives (HSRs) have increased powers The Act extends union powers Union officials have right of entry to investigate suspected OHS contravention Union officials can provide advice and consult about health and safety matters with 24 hours notice

12 ACCI speaks on behalf of businesses at a national and international level The changes – Consultation How this will work, particularly with multiple PCBUs, requires further clarity This is new to many operations Guidelines and advice is required The Act imposes obligations to consult, co-operate and co-ordinate:  as far as is reasonably practicable  with other PCBUs  with other duty holders – including employees

13 ACCI speaks on behalf of businesses at a national and international level Our concerns - general ACCI is supportive of WHS harmonisation However: The timetable is short – not enough time for thorough review and testing by employees and employers The regulations are over-engineered so that all industries are covered. They are cumbersome and lengthy States remain the OHS regulators. State Courts will deal with breaches. Therefore there is potential for different interpretations for compliance and enforcement

14 ACCI speaks on behalf of businesses at a national and international level Our concerns - specific The right of entry accorded to union officials The proposed level of fines and penalties The powers given to Health & Safety representatives to stop work The reverse onus of proof in discrimination against complainers Ambiguity in the application of duties and obligations with multiple PCBUs (e.g. landlord and tenant, contractor and sub-contractor…)

15 ACCI speaks on behalf of businesses at a national and international level The limitations ACCI recognises that regulation cannot on its own achieve improved safety outcomes The workplace culture must be based around clear, shared responsibilities… …and supported by a framework of credible and applicable laws, regulations, codes of practice and industry based guidance materials The framework of laws and regulation must take account of the different nature and types of business – size and industry. One size cannot fit all

16 ACCI speaks on behalf of businesses at a national and international level Summary ACCI members support the principle of harmonisation Industry specific guidance material is important for industry to fully understand their detailed obligations Need to avoid pushing guidance material into tougher enforceable codes Practical application will be key We must not lose this opportunity……..

17 ACCI speaks on behalf of businesses at a national and international level Thank You Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry


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