Work Health and Safety Act 'due diligence': Will our current safety systems be compliant?
Faculty of Business and Law
School of Management / Centre for Innovative Practice
The harmonisation of work health and safety legislation began to come into effect in Australia in January 2012 and is part of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG 2008) National Reform Agenda. This paper reviews the meaning of and adherence to the due diligence requirements of Section 27 and the definition of consultation in sections 48 and 49 of legislation enacting the Model Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act) to determine whether off the shelf safety systems are compliant under the new legislation. These requirements include provision of safe systems of work (Section 19(1)) that is the result of consultation with all workers. Some businesses in Australia purchase off the shelf safety systems with completed safe work procedures and operational manuals. Little or no consultation occurs with workers as to whether these documents are a correct account of their daily work tasks. Communication is limited to tool box and safety meetings. The paper questions whether pre-developed safety systems that have limited consultation and development between staff and management comply with Sections 27 (5) and 47-49 of the WHS Act.