Work Health and Safety Standards provide guidance to help ensure safety, performance and reliability through the specifications of goods, services and systems. Regulations set out the standards employers need to meet for specific hazards and risks, such as noise, machinery and manual handling. They also set out the licenses needed for specific activities, such as forklift operation, the records employers need to maintain, and the reports they need to submit.
There are both Australian and international standards, as well as standards developed by certain regulators, and industry standards developed by professional industry associations for the purpose of maintaining a standard in performance for the particular activities within the industries. Some are non-mandatory guidelines but others are compulsory. Each state will gave its own standards although Safe Work Australia is committed to developing a single set of federal WHS laws.
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Expertise in Action
Experts in Work Health and Safety Standards are often needed to give opinions in workers compensation claims or where regulatory authorities are prosecuting businesses for inadequate compliance with industry guidelines due to employee complaints, WorkSafe inspections, or investigative journalism reports.
For some fields of expertise we have some sample sections of de-identified reports. Please contact our office if you are interested in a sample.
The overall cost of expert opinion depends on the services required. Some of the key factors that affect the cost of advice include:
- The need for a view or inspection of a location
- The quantity of documentary material to be reviewed
- Whether there are reports of other experts to be reviewed and commented on in detail
- Whether there is a need for conferences with the expert either in person or by telephone/Skype
Safe Work Australia: Model WHS Laws
In 2011, Safe Work Australia developed a single set of WHS laws to be implemented across Australia. These are known as ‘model’ laws. For the model WHS laws to become legally binding, the Commonwealth, states and territories must separately implement them as their own laws.
Comcare: The WHS Act
Comcare administers the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act) and Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011 (WHS Regulations) in the Commonwealth jurisdiction. The WHS Act and WHS Regulations implement model work health and safety laws that have also been adopted in most of the Australian states and territories.
Rovera Scaffolding (Act) Pty Ltd v Director-General Of The Chief Minister, Treasury & Economic Development Directorate (Administrative Review)  ACAT 127
One issue in this case was concerned with the contention that there was no legal requirement to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the erection of scaffolding, where those instructions conflict with the Australian Standards.
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