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Important WHS legislative changes have taken place, effective from yesterday – July 1, for Queensland and June 10, 2020, for NSW workplaces. Altius Group WHS Specialist, Matthew Counsel, outlines these changes to help you check your compliance:

Queensland: An employer must appoint a Rehabilitation and Return to Work Coordinator (RRTWC) who is based in Queensland and is employed by the employer under a contract of service. From 1 July 2020, an employer is required to submit details of their appointed RRTWC to their insurer (see amendments to Section 226 of the Act).

The prescribed details include:

  • the person’s name and contact details
  • a statement about how they are appropriately qualified
  • details of each workplace for which the person is appointed as the RRTWC.

It is the employer’s responsibility to assess the risks and needs of their workers and workplaces and ensure that they have engaged RRTWCs who are appropriately qualified. Appropriately qualified means having the qualifications, experience or standing appropriate to perform the function.

Please contact Altius Group if you would like to discuss options to outsource this role, remain compliant and achieve positive Return to Work outcomes for your organisation.

New South Wales: Key changes to NSW Work Health and Safety laws commenced on 10 June 2020. A bill passed by the NSW Parliament in June, enacted a number of reforms that will make the lives of workers and business owners healthier, safer and more productive.
These reforms will also assist in improving compliance and enforcement measures for the NSW WHS regulators. The reforms include:

  • adding “gross negligence” as a fault element for Category 1 offences to make it easier to prosecute and create a stronger incentive for duty holders to manage WHS risks.
  • prohibiting insurance and indemnity arrangements for paying WHS fines.
  • increasing penalty amounts for all WHS offences in line with the Consumer Price Index so that they retain their deterrent value.
  • extending the timeframe in which a WHS Regulator can bring a prosecution for a category 1 or 2 offence and requiring the WHS regulator provide regular updates to the requester until a decision to prosecute is made.
  • clarifying that a Health and Safety Representative (HSR) can choose their course of training.

These changes place greater emphasis on the need for workplaces to check for any gaps in WHS compliance and to ensure their WHS management systems are adequate to prevent claims.

Altius Group WHS consultants support workplaces with a range of WHS support services, scalable to meet your business needs – from once off advice through to comprehensive WHS Gap Analysis and reviews. Our services and software solutions are designed to support WHS improvements across all industries.