Codes of Practice (1985 Act)

Codes of Practice

Under the (old) Victorian 1985 OHS Act, Codes of Practice were declared to provide practical guidance to employers, self-employed people, employees, occupiers, designers, manufacturers, importers, suppliers or any other person who has a duty under the OHS Act and regulations. Codes of practice:

  • provided practical guidance;
  • should have been followed by the employer unless there was a better solution which achieve the same result, or a better solution;
  • were able to be used in support of the Act's preventive enforcement provision; and
  • could be used to support prosecution.

Status under the 2004 OHS Act:

The status of WorkSafe Codes of Practice changed when the new OHS Act came into operation on 1 July 2005. The new Act allows for the making of Compliance Codes which, according to WorkSafe, will provide greater certainty about what constitutes compliance under OHS laws.

Advice from WorkSafe is that existing codes of practice will continue to be a source of practical guidance until such time as they are replaced with Compliance Codes.

Eight Compliance Codes had been finalised (as at September 2008), prior to this work being interrupted when the national harmonisation of occupational health and safety legislation effort began and work was redirected into development of the model Work Health and Safety Act, Regulations and Codes of Practice. However, after a change to a Liberal/Coalition government, Victoria announced that it would not implement the WHS regulatory model. Work then recommenced in the area of compliance codes - at the same time as a review of the Regulations. Since then, as of March 2016, five new Compliance Codes have been declared.

The old codes can be referred to for advice and information, and form part of the 'state of knowledge'. All the codes of practice are still available free and can be ordered from WorkSafe Victoria (phone number of the publications unit is 03 9641 1333).

Last amended March 2018