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OH&S legislation

Safety Laws

The Occupational Health and Safety Act was passed by the Victorian Parliament in 1985 and has since been amended four times: 1990, 1992,1993,1996.

The Act was introduced in an attempt to reduce and control workplace accidents. The Act provides a framework for establishing a set of flexible safe working conditions for every workplace. More defined details of safety requirements are written in Regulations and Codes of Practice.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act places the responsibility for workplace safety with the employer, employees, manufacturers and suppliers of plant, equipment and substances (chemicals, ingredients etc). The Act places an emphasis on work related health issues and on the role of employees by taking an active role in workplace safety through participation in decision making, health and safety representatives and health and safety committees.

Occupational Health and Safety Act

To reduce the number of workplace accidents, each state in Australia has developed legislation to protect the health and safety of people at work. In Victoria, the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1985 governs workplace health and safety. Other states OH&S is governed by the following Acts:

New South Wales Occupational Health and Safety Act 1983

South Australia Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare Act 1988

Western Australia Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare Act 1984

Tasmania Industrial Safety Act 1977

Northern Territory Work Health Act 1992

Queensland Workplace Health and Safety Act 1989

ACT Occupational Health and Safety Act 1989

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Some definitions

Legislation

Legislation (Law) is an act of Parliament that everyone must follow. There are heavy fines and penalties for both employers and workers who break the law. The Victorian WorkCover Authority is there to ensure the health and safety law is obeyed.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act identifies responsibilities of the employer, the employee and the Victorian WorkCover Authority to maintain workplace safety.

 

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Regulations

Regulations are the rules that deal with certain issues in greater detail than are contained in the Act. For example, there are regulations covering confined spaces, asbestos and first aid. Both you and your employer must follow these regulations or risk injury and penalties.

Regulations are added to the main legislation. To accompany the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1985, the regulations pertaining to particular areas, include:

Occupational Health and Safety Act 1985

 Relevant Acts

Equipment (Public Safety) Act 1994

Dangerous Goods Act 1985

Road Transport (Dangerous Goods) Act 1995

Road Transport Reform (Dangerous Goods) Act 1995 (Commonwealth)


Codes of Practice

Codes of Practice are standards set out by groups of industries to make the workplace safer. They are not enforceable by law but should be followed as they are a guide to workplace safety. There are many Codes of Practice, manual handling and noise in the workplace are just a few. If they are applicable in your area, your employer should be able to show you copies of these and others.