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Work Health and Safety Bill 2019 (WHS Bill) - Western Australia

After nearly 12 years of debate, procrastination and consultation, the WA Parliament has finally introduced its version of the harmonised legislation, currently known as the Work Health and Safety Bill 2019 (WHS Bill).

If nothing else, this delay has meant the drafting of the WHS Bill has benefited from the numerous work health and safety reviews that have been undertaken in various states (including WA), including the Review of the Model Work Health and Safety Laws Final Report (Boland Report).

Most WA businesses will already be familiar with many of the proposed changes.

What do employers need to know about the WHS Bill?

1. Critically, the WHS Bill does include a number of provisions which differ from both the current Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 (WA) (OSH Act) and from the Model WHS Act.

2. The WHS Bill is expected to pass through Parliament and be introduced in 2020. (While there is no set timeline, Labour holds the majority in both the lower and upper house, so there is little likelihood of prolonged debate).

3. There is unlikely to be any lengthy transition period given the history of the reforms, so employers should not be surprised if compliance is expected from the date the WHS Bill is passed into law.

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