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Best practice review of Workplace Health and Safety Queensland

On 5 April 2017, the Honourable Grace Grace MP, Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, Minister for Racing and Minister for Multicultural Affairs, announced that a best practice review of Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) is to be undertaken in response to the recent tragic fatalities at Dreamworld and an Eagle Farm worksite in 2016.

Under the terms of reference for the review, the reviewer is asked to consider WHSQ's effectiveness in light of contemporary regulatory practice. This includes reviewing all WHSQ's functions including inspections, investigations, prosecutions, enforceable undertakings, research, strategy and policy development, information and education and awareness campaigns. The review will also consider specific issues such as whether an offence of 'gross negligence causing death' should be introduced and whether current penalty levels under the work health and safety laws act as a sufficient deterrent to non-compliance.

The review and subsequent recommendations will specifically consider:

  1. the appropriateness of WHSQ's Compliance and Enforcement Policy
  2. the effectiveness of WHSQ's compliance regime, enforcement activities, and dispute resolution processes
  3. WHSQs effectiveness in relation to providing compliance information and promoting work health and safety awareness and education
  4. the appropriateness and effectiveness of the administration of public safety matters by WHSQ
  5. any further measures that can be taken to discourage unsafe work practices, including the introduction a new offence of gross negligence causing death as well as increasing existing penalties for work-related deaths and serious injuries.

An independent reviewer, Mr Tim Lyons, has been appointed by the Honourable Grace Grace MP, Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, Minister for Racing and Minister for Multicultural Affairs to undertake the best practice review and to consider and report on any potential measures, both operational and legislative, that could be taken to address the matters raised in the terms of reference. The reviewer will be supported by a tripartite reference group which will provide commentary and advice on the matters to be considered as part of the review.

Mr Lyons is undertaking direct consultation with the reference group and interested parties. While a process of full written submissions will not be conducted, written comments on the Terms of Reference and Discussion Paper (PDF, 3870.52 KB). is welcome. Written comments can be provided to whspolicy@justice.qld.gov.au and should be received by Friday 5 May 2017.

The findings and recommendations from the review will be presented to the Government by the middle of the year.

Last updated
24 April 2017

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