Queensland OHS laws change

Monday, 01 December, 2008

Queensland’s workplace health and safety laws have been updated following the passing of legislation in November.

Commenting on its introduction, the Queensland Council of Unions stated that the legislation will strengthen the enforcement of Queensland’s workplace health and safety laws and deter any breaches from those responsible for workplace health and safety.

One of the main components of the legislation will see measures introduced to allow elected workplace health and safety representatives to issue provisional improvement notices (PINs) where there is potential for injury or illness in a workplace.

Queensland Council of Unions assistant general secretary Amanda Richards congratulated the state government on passing the laws: “Unions have been advocating for these changes for years and we are pleased to see the government act on these important issues. The issuing of PINs will allow for issues to be dealt with at the workplace level in a timely manner between workers via their health and safety representative and the employer. This measure would see local-level resolution of health and safety issues as and when they are raised in the workplace.

“The new legislation will also see changes made to the prosecution framework removing protection for the Queensland government from prosecution for occupational health and safety offences. This will mean that all employers, private or public, will now be subject to the same penalties for breaches of health and safety laws.”

Richards was also pleased to see the government recognise a past omission in relation to latent onset disease sufferers, stating: “The amendments will see the victims and families of latent onset injuries such as mesothelioma receive just compensation in a timely way.”


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