Worksafe explains how it will manage new WA Work Health and Safety laws in its first 12 months

On 31 March 2022, Western Australia joined other states and territories with proclamation of the new Work Health and Safety Act 2020 (WHS Act), and now Worksafe Commissioner, Darren Kavanagh, has outlined how Worksafe will approach the implementation of the new laws.

As a regulator, Darren set out that Worksafe would be seeking to continue strong enforcement where necessary. There will be continued development of information and educational material in addition to reduced investigation timelines and consistent reactive and proactive compliance programs. These measures will also assist industry to meet the requirements of the new Act.

The Commissioner advised that a Statement of Regulatory Intent has been formulated to provide the principles for the regulatory approach that WorkSafe will take during the first twelve (12) months of the new legislation.

This first 12 months will recognise that the new laws are a significant change for some, and that industry may need some time to implement them. But at the same time he emphasised that safety management systems for identifying, assessing and controlling hazards in a workplace should already be in place, as they were required under the previous legislation.

As such, WorkSafe inspectors will adopt a supportive and educative approach to compliance in relation to low-risk contraventions, providing duty holders have made genuine attempts to comply with legislative requirements. But enforcement action may still be taken where actions or omissions result in serious risks to workers or the community.

In the case of a contravention of a provision similar to one under the previous law, enforcement action may be taken, which could include the issue of notices for which the recipient has the right to seek a review.

WorkSafe will continue to monitor the implementation of the WHS Act and engage with industry, employer and employee stakeholders. Where matters of high priority are identified during the first twelve months, the Statement of Regulatory intent may be amended to aid in the successful implementation of the new laws.

You’ll find more information on the new WA Worksafe Act and Regulations here.