Work health and safety legislation

The Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 is being repealed on 1 September and replaced by the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017, which comes into effect on the same day.

The new regulation is essentially the same as the 2011 Regulation, except for minor changes, including formatting and corrections to typos.

The changes are outlined in this table.

SafeWork NSW is currently working to update references to the regulation across its multiple sources of information and regulatory materials, as well as links to the regulation.

Work Health and Safety Bill going to Parliament

Following the recent statutory review (the Review) of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act), the Work Health and Safety Bill 2017 will be soon introduced to the NSW Parliament for consideration.

The scope of this Review only considered the NSW-specific provisions of the WHS Act and Regulation and how they were being interpreted, applied and enforced in NSW. This was due to the NSW legislation being aligned to the national model legislation which is scheduled for review in 2018.

As part of the NSW Review, the community was asked if the work health and safety laws were working well. The Review found that the objects of the WHS Act remain valid and the terms remain generally appropriate for securing those objectives.

The Review Report was tabled in the NSW Parliament on 20 June 2017.

  • Some of the recommendations from the Review include:
    The introduction of new penalty notice offences for unlicensed high risk work and falls from heights.
  • Allowing for penalty notices to be issued electronically.
  • Clarifying responsibility for certain dangerous goods and high risk plant that may affect public safety when not at a workplace.
  • The ability for inspectors to record interviews regardless of whether the interviewee consents, while still retaining the current self-incrimination provisions and ensuring the interviewee is advised that the recording is to be undertaken.
  • Clarifying the ability of the NSW regulators to obtain records and issue notices outside of NSW, to the extent the State’s legislative power allows.

It is anticipated that the new laws will be introduced later this year. Prior to the introduction of the new legislation, an information campaign will be conducted, preparing stakeholders for the changes resulting from the review recommendations.

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