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Codes of practice

Work Health and Safety (WHS) Codes of Practice offer practical guidance to achieve the standards of health, safety and welfare required in the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act) and Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011 (WHS Regulations).

A code of practice applies to anyone who has a duty of care in the circumstances detailed in the code. In most cases, following an approved code of practice would achieve compliance with the health and safety duties in the WHS Act and Regulations. WHS Codes of Practice are admissible in court proceedings. Courts may regard a code of practice as evidence of what is known about a hazard, risk or control, and rely on it to determine what is reasonably practicable in the circumstances. Following another method, such as a technical or an industry standard may achieve compliance with the WHS Act and Regulations, if it provides an equivalent or higher standard of work health and safety than the code.

An inspector may refer to an approved code of practice when issuing an improvement or prohibition notice.

Codes of Practice in effect in the Commonwealth jurisdiction

Significant consultation was undertaken during the development of the model WHS Codes of Practice. The following Codes of Practice came into effect in the Commonwealth on 31 March 2016:

National Guidance Material

Additional national guidance material has been released by Safe Work Australia to support the WHS Act and WHS Regulations.  National material provides practical advice for persons conducting a business or undertaking on how to manage risks at the workplace. The topics are:

Safe Work Australia is working to finalise guidance material for:

  • Tree trimming and removal work – crane access method
  • Managing risks of plant in rural workplaces
  • Cranes

National Fact Sheets

Page last updated: 05 Apr 2016