The national model Work Health and Safety Act, Regulations and related materials have been amended to reflect a wide range of recommendations from Marie Boland's independent review of the laws. Some states have already adopted some of the changes, while other jurisdictions are likely to follow suit soon.
"Work status" provisions in WHS and employment laws should be amended and aligned to remove disincentives to the provision of safety protections for gig workers and others, according to an inquiry, which is likely reignite calls for Victoria to adopt the model WHS Act.
The model WHS laws could be amended to increase the focus on psychological health, with the public consultation process for the ongoing review of the laws identifying widespread concerns over this issue and the absence of a "notification trigger" for psychological injuries.
Understanding the Victorian OHS Act in the context of the model WHS regime is critical for duty holders, with superior courts, for instance, viewing the unstated objects of the former "through the prism" of the latter's broad objectives, according to the latest edition of Victoria's OHS law "bible". (Read on for your chance to win one of three copies!)
Victoria is likely to take steps to better harmonise its OHS Act with the model WHS Act within months, in addition to introducing legislation establishing a labour-hire licensing scheme with safety requirements.
The Victorian Government has agreed, in principle, to adopt the national model WHS Act's broad definition of worker and consultation obligations, as recommended by a 2016 inquiry into the labour-hire sector.
OHS laws in Victoria could be amended to adopt the national model WHS Act's PCBU framework and broad definition of worker, under one of 35 recommendations for the labour-hire industry tabled in Parliament today.
New OHS and equipment-related public safety regulations have been released for comment in Victoria, with the former adopting the global system for labelling chemicals and clauses providing consistency with the national model WHS laws.
The Victorian Government has confirmed that it is unlikely to adopt the harmonised WHS laws in their current form, and has vowed to restore "the cooperative environment previously created between WorkSafe, employers and unions".