SafeWork updates legislation for NSW workers

SafeWork New South Wales has made amendments to the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017, or WHS Regulation, which came into effect on November 15.

The WHS Regulation updated legislation regarding penalties, accommodation for rural workers, explosives and dangerous goods.

The Regulation expanded to include rules from the Rural Workers Accommodation Act 1969, the Explosives Act 2003, Explosives Regulation 2013, Dangerous Goods (Road and Rail Transport) Act 2008 and Dangerous Goods (Road and Rail Transport) Regulation 2014.

The penalty notices were based on the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, which includes penalties of $10,000 for individuals and $50,000 for companies if they fail to alert a regulator about incidents that occur on site, either by telephone or in writing.

There will also be fines for workplaces that fail to display notices issued by inspectors that identify any broken legislation.

The Act states that notices must be displayed in a prominent position in the workplace, with a penalty of $5000 for individuals and $25,000 for the company for not displaying notices and the same penalties if individuals or companies intentionally remove, destroy or damage a notice displayed while it is in force.

The Explosives Act 2003 and Explosives Regulation 2013 apply to any workers or businesses that manufacture, import, store, transport, supply, handle or use explosives or any other dangerous substances in their line of work.

For companies whose employees that need to live more than 24 hours at or near their premises, the Rural Workers Accommodation Act 1969 states that their employer must provide suitable accommodation for them free of charge.

Suitable accommodation is defined in the Act as solid, weatherproof and including shower, toilet and laundry facilities and the workers are responsible for keeping accommodation tidy and leaving it clean once leaving.

By law, WHS legislation must be obeyed at all times by both employers and workers in the state of issue, to ensure health and safety for everyone in the workplace.