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Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011 (Cth)

Further Information

For further information around general harmonisation, the Act and the regulations and codes of practice.

The development of Model Work Health and Safety Regulations (Model WHS Regulations) is an important element of the harmonised regulatory framework and will assist a Person Conducting Business or Undertaking (PCBU) to manage risks and fulfil their primary duty of care under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Cth) (WHS Act).

Agreed to in principle by the majority of the Ministerial Council on 10 August 2011, the Model WHS Regulations were subject to approval of the Decision Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) by the Office of Best Practice Regulation. The Decision RIS was approved on 9 September 2011.

All Ministers were advised to implement the model WHS Regulations and first stage Model Codes of Practice by 1 January 2012 in accordance with the intergovernmental agreement.

Safe Work Australia agreed to transitional principles for the model WHS Regulations to ensure a smooth transition to the harmonised WHS laws. The Model WHS Regulations reduces differences across jurisdictions at the legislative level.

In most cases, the Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011 (Cth) (WHS Regulations) do not significantly depart from the general structure and content of previous OHS regulations and many are already based on Australian National Standards and National Codes of Practice.

The transitional principles are high level to ensure they are workable and applicable to the different circumstances of each jurisdiction. This recognises that each jurisdiction will implement the WHS Regulations from a different starting point.

The WHS Regulations supports the WHS Act by setting out mandatory obligations on specific matters. These regulations were written in terms of processes or outcomes that a PCBU must follow or achieve to meet their general duties under the WHS Act in relation to these matters.

The WHS Regulations complements and supports the general duties under the WHS Act.

They include provisions on:

  • Preliminary (chapter 1)
  • Representation and participation (chapter 2)
  • General risk and workplace management (chapter 3)
  • Hazardous work (chapter 4)
  • Plant and structures (chapter 5)
  • Construction work (chapter 6)
  • Hazardous chemicals (chapter 7)
  • Asbestos (chapter 8)
  • Major hazard facilities (chapter 9)
  • Mines (chapter 10)
  • General (chapter 11)
  • Transitional and saving provisions (chapter 12)

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