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Minor changes to the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (2020 amendments)

On 17 June 2020, the Queensland Parliament passed the Community Services Industry (Portable Long Service Leave) Act (the amendment Act).The amendment Act included the following minor changes to the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act), which will commence on assent:

  • streamlining right of entry dispute resolutions by removing sections 141A and 142A of the WHS Act, and
  • increasing the penalties for when there is obstruction, intimidation and threatening behaviour in the context of right of entry matters (sections 144-148) and generally in relation to inspectors (sections 188-190).

Right of entry dispute resolution

The removal of sections 141A and 142A mean that Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) inspectors can no longer issue written directions to determine right of entry disputes. However, inspectors can still be called on to assist in resolving disputes.

Where a dispute remains unresolved, any relevant party can make application to the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission to seek resolution of the dispute.

Penalties for obstruction in right of entry matters

The maximum penalties for prohibited conduct under the Part 7, Division 7of the WHS Act (sections 144-148) have been increased to 500 penalty units.

Penalties for obstruction and assault of inspectors

The maximum penalties for offences against inspectors under Part 9, Division 6 of the WHS Act have been increased as follows:

  • hinder or obstruct inspector (section 188) and impersonate inspector (section 189): 500 penalty units
  • assault, threaten or intimidate inspector (section 190): 1000 penalty units.

A copy of the Act as passed and explanatory notes will be available on the Queensland Legislation website.

Last updated
31 July 2020

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