National Review into Model Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Laws

The first report of an advisory panel on a national review into model Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Laws has been published.

The recommendations relating to duty of care include that:

"The model Act should contain a set of principles including, amongst other things, the following to guide duty holders, regulators and the courts on the interpretation and application of the duties of care:

a) Duties of care are imposed on those who are involved in, materially affect, or are materially affected by, the performance of work.
b) All duty holders (other than workers, officers and others at the workplace) must eliminate or reduce hazards or risks so far as is reasonably practicable.
c) Workers and other individuals at the workplace must co-operate with persons conducting businesses or undertakings at the workplace, to assist in achievement of the objective of elimination or reduction of hazards or risks and must take reasonable care for themselves and others.
d) Officers must proactively take steps to ensure the objective of elimination or reduction of hazards or risks is achieved within their organisation."

The report also discusses the nature and structure of offences, including defences.

The panel's second report on all other matters relating to the optimal content of a model OHS Act will be submitted to the Workplace Relations Ministers’ Council by 30 January 2009

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