NSW work health and safety laws updated


Wednesday, 17 June, 2020

NSW work health and safety laws updated

The NSW Parliament has passed the Work Health and Safety Amendment (Review) Act 2020, thereby introducing various changes to NSW WHS laws, which came into effect on 10 June 2020. The changes include an enhancement of the Category 1 offence by including ‘gross negligence’ as a fault element, making it easier to prosecute and create a stronger incentive for duty holders to manage WHS risks.

The amendments also include the prohibition of insurance and indemnity arrangements, to ensure people cannot avoid responsibility for paying WHS fines. Penalty amounts for all WHS offences were also increased in line with the Consumer Price Index, to ensure that penalties retain their deterrent value. The amendments also included a clarification that a health and safety representative (HSR) can choose their course of training, to avoid unnecessary delays which can affect an HSR’s ability to fulfil their role and exercise their powers.

The amendments also extended the time in which a person can ask the WHS regulators to start a prosecution in response to a Category 1 or Category 2 offence from 12 to 18 months, with the WHS required to provide updates every three months to the requester until a decision to prosecute is made. This ensures that families are kept informed during investigations of workplace accidents and that they have access to an effective review mechanism for decisions not to prosecute.

These changes will assist in improving compliance and enforcement measures for the NSW WHS Regulators, to make the lives of workers and business owners healthier, safer and more productive.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/zolnierek

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