The Queensland Government has accepted all 31 recommendations from an independent review of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act), which sought to clarify and enhance its existing frameworks and ensure its overall effectiveness.
In August last year, Minister for Industrial Relations Grace Grace announced an independent review of the WHS Act. The review report has now been published along with the Government’s response.
The main recommendations in the review report relate to elevating the role of health and safety representatives (HSRs) in the workplace; clarifying the rights of HSRs and worker representatives; and streamlining dispute resolution procedures, alongside 55 sub-recommendations.
A key finding from the review found safety outcomes improve when workers are empowered to have an active role in safety, and where there are high levels of cooperation between workers and employers. The review also noted the need for more education on the rights of HSRs and worker representatives.
It is expected an amendment Bill will be introduced later this year to implement the majority of the recommendations. The Bill will also include amendments to address recommendations made by an earlier national review of the model work health and safety laws.
Workplace Health and Safety Queensland acknowledges the work of independent reviewers—former Deputy President of the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission and Industrial Court Ms Deirdre Swan, former Deputy Director-General of the Office of Industrial Relations Craig Allen, and Barrister Mr Charles Massy, a specialist in industrial relations and employment law—to help make Queensland workplaces safer.