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Commonwealth Work Health and Safety Act 2011 effective now

Today, 1 January 2012 marks an historic event for our jurisdiction with the commencement of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Cth) (WHS Act) for the Commonwealth jurisdiction.

The WHS Act replaces the now retracted Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991.

The WHS Act initiates a new era in the harmonisation of health and safety for all Australian workers. A number of other legislative instruments that support the document also commence today:

  • Work Health and Safety (Transitional and Consequential) Act 2011 (Cth).
  • Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011 (Cth).
  • Work Health and Safety Approved Codes of Practice 2011 (Cth).

The new legislation offers an opportunity for a person conducting a business or undertaking to review, refresh and renew how we manage health and safety through governance, policies and procedures. 

It also provides the opportunity for all workers to consider their role in health and safety at work.

The new WHS laws maintain the following important safety obligations:

  • the health and safety of people must underpin all operational decisions
  • appropriate consultation, training and safe systems of work
  • workplaces free from harassment and bullying
  • agencies and organisations remain subject to enforcement action for non-compliance.

For more information, see the Work Health and Safety website.



Page last updated: 25 Nov 2014