Why Does A Health and Safety Code Of Practice Matter?
If you do business in Australia, there’s an important reason why you need to know what a code of practice is.
From 1 July 2018 persons conducting a business or undertaking are required to comply with an approved code of practice.
Alternatively, you can follow another method, such as a technical or an industry standard, to manage hazards and risks. However, it must provide an equivalent or higher measure of work health and safety to the standard required in the code.
What is the Act, Regulations and Codes Of Practice?
The Australian WHS Act defines the requirements and duties of work health and safety and penalties for non-compliance.
The WHS Regulation provides detailed requirements to comply with the WHS Act.
Approved Codes of Practice provide practical guidance on how to comply. Accordingly, they
can be evidence of compliance in proceedings for breaches of WHS laws. Furthermore, they give advice on;
- how to achieve the standards required under the Act
- effective ways to identify and manage risks.
Here’s a diagram of the tiers of health and safety law in Australia;
To Whom Does A Code Of Practice Apply?
The codes apply to anyone who has a health and safety duty of care.
In most cases, following approved codes achieves compliance with health and safety law.
Like regulations, they deal with particular issues. However, they don’t cover every hazard or risks which may arise.
Health and safety law requires duty holders to consider all risks associated with the workplace. All risks additional to those which regulations and the codes of practice define.
Now (as of the July 1st 2018) the codes take on a much more important role. Formerly, they were important guides as to how to carry out the law. However, now they are regarded as part of the law.
This has vastly increased the importance of knowing what they are and how they apply in your industry. Similarly, it increases the need to manage a health and safety system to a high degree.