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This information is designed to inform and guide workers and HSRs on the WHS laws. It provides practical guidance on obligations, consultation, communication, and fostering a healthy and safe culture at work. There is information for Workers/HSRs about:

Workers and Health and HSRs are the people who directly face the hazards of a job, and often have valuable knowledge, expertise, and the motivation to improve health and safety. This makes workers central to the process of setting the health and safety standards in the workplace.

The laws for health and safety changed on 1 January 2012. The former Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991 (OHS Act) changed to the Work Health and Safety Act 2011(Cth) (WHS Act). This is a significant and historic change to health and safety laws in Australia and from 1 January 2012 most States, Territories and the Commonwealth harmonised and implemented similar Work Health and Safety (WHS) laws.

One of the key aspects of the WHS Act for Commonwealth employees includes the change in definition from employee to worker. This means that the traditional relationship between the employer and employee under the former OHS Act broadens beyond the traditional employment relationship.

The WHS Act applies the overriding principle that workers and other persons should, so far as is reasonably practical, be given the highest level of protection against harm to their health, safety and welfare from hazards and risks arising from work. This level of protection cannot be achieved without the input of workers and HSRs.

Page last updated: 26 Feb 2016