Alert – The impact of harmonised workplace health and safety laws on the construction industry in Queensland
19 December 2011
New workplace health and safety laws commence in Queensland on 1 January 2012.
The new Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 and Work Health and Safety Act 2011 will replace the Workplace Health and Safety Act 1995 and Workplace Health and Safety Regulation 2008, as part of a national harmonisation project. Chapter 6 of the Regulation governs construction work.
What this means for the construction industry
- The financial threshold above which it is necessary to appoint a 'principal contractor' for a construction project is increasing from $80,000 to $250,0000.
- The definition of 'construction work' is changing – maintenance of structures is now also deemed to be construction work (although work carried out on plant is excluded from the definition of construction work except in particular circumstances).
- The definition of 'worker' will now include contractors and subcontractors and the employees of labour hire companies.
- Terminology is changing – duties are now owed by 'persons conducting a business or undertaking', with the duty owed depending on the activities being carried out.
- Persons that design structures must now supply the person who commissioned the design with a written report specifying the risks and hazards associated with the structure.
- WHS management plans and safe work method statements must now be kept until construction work is completed (or longer where a notifiable incident has occurred).
- Persons with management and control of a workplace must now take positive steps to prevent unauthorised access to a workplace at which construction work is carried out.
- Site specific inductions will no longer be mandated (but will generally still be required to fulfil a person's broader health and safety obligations).
- The principal contractor will have to provide clearly visible signage which properly identifies itself and the location of its office.