Qld takes steps to further support worker safety

Monday, 08 May, 2023

Qld takes steps to further support worker safety

The Queensland Government has accepted all 31 recommendations from an independent review into the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, to ensure that the state’s WHS laws remain strong, with legislation set to be introduced to parliament later this year that will implement the majority of the recommendations. In a further step to protect businesses and workers, the Queensland Government’s code of practice for managing silica dust in construction and manufacturing has come into effect.

Developed in consultation with unions, employers and technical experts, the dust control methods contained in the code are based on extensive data evidence. Designed to protect Queensland workers from exposure to respirable crystalline silica (RCS or silica dust), the new code of practice provides minimum enforceable standards to eliminate or minimise exposure to silica dust. The code applies to all construction work as well as the manufacturing of building materials that contain crystalline silica.

Minister for Industrial Relations Grace Grace said one of the key findings from the Work Health and Safety Act review was the need for more education on the rights of worker health and safety representatives (HSRs) — in response, the government will clarify and enhance the existing frameworks and support the reduction and unnecessary disputes. Grace said that the amendments to the Act will also enable HSRs to choose their training provider.

“While legislative reviews and reform can be complex processes, they are absolutely necessary to give us the in-depth insights and advice we need to strengthen laws to protect Queensland workers. Our amendments will deliver on an election commitment to enable HSRs to choose their training provider,” Grace said.

Image credit: iStock.com/GregorBister

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