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New Commonwealth WHS laws

3 April 2023

Important changes to Commonwealth work health and safety laws are now in force.

For the first time, the Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011 prescribe how employers must identify and manage hazards and risks to workers’ psychological health and safety.

Comcare is providing ongoing support to help the jurisdiction prepare with published guidance and education products on psychosocial hazards and risks. This includes a new suite of guidance on work demands, a major cause of psychological injury across the scheme and a Prevention Strategy that focuses on common threats to psychological health and safety.

More than 1,000 people attended our recent webinar discussing the changes, and we have a range of education offerings to help workplaces adapt including instructor-led courses and self-paced online modules. If you missed our psychosocial hazards and regulation webinar, it's being offered again on Wednesday 5 April.

Register for the webinar

Additional guidance is available from Safe Work Australia’s model code of practice to help organisations comply with the new regulations:

The amended regulations came into effect on 1 April, defining important terms including ‘psychosocial hazard’ and ‘psychosocial risk’ and identifying the hazards employers must control in the workplace.

The model code of practice has important guidance relating to WHS duties, hazard identification and risk management, and identifies common workplace psychosocial hazards including:

  • Bullying and harassment
  • Work demands
  • Poor organisational change management
  • Traumatic events and material
  • Remote or isolated work

Those with management and control of the workplace must use the hierarchy of controls to manage psychosocial risks, set out in the Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011. This is a step-by-step approach to eliminating or minimising risks, ranking controls from the highest to the lowest level of protection.

More information about changes to WHS laws

Page last reviewed: 03 April 2023

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Date printed 25 Apr 2024