The Work Health and Safety Approved Codes of Practice 2011 (WHS Codes of Practice) are critical to understanding the duties contained in the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Cth) (WHS Act) and WHS Regulations.
The WHS Codes of Practice provide practical guidance to support the WHS Act and WHS Regulations. Non-compliance with Codes of Practice does not necessarily constitute a non-compliance of WHS legislation.
WHS Codes of Practice are not mandatory and if the Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) can find an equivalent means of providing the same level of health and safety—as provided for in the WHS Code of Practice - then that is an acceptable course of action. However, WHS Codes of Practice do have evidentiary status in court.
Codes of Practice in effect in the Commonwealth jurisdiction
Following the finalisation of the model Work Health Safey Act and Regulations, Comcare approved two compilation Codes of Practice: the Work Health and Safety Codes of Practice 2011 and Work Health and Safety Codes of Practice 2012.
On March 30, 2016, these were revoked and remade and commenced on March 31, 2016. While the content of most codes remained unchanged, 17 included technical amendments. These are:
- How to Manage Work Health and Safety Risks
- Managing the Work Environment and Facilities
- Work Health and Safety Consultation, Co-operation and Co-ordination
- Managing Noise and Preventing Hearing Loss
- Hazardous Manual Tasks
- Confined Spaces
- Managing the Risk of Falls at Workplaces
- Preparation of Safety Data Sheets for Hazardous Chemicals
- Labelling of Workplace Hazardous Chemicals
- How to Manage and Control Asbestos in the Workplace
- How to Safely Remove Asbestos
- First Aid in the Workplace
- Construction Work
- Preventing Falls in Housing Construction
- Managing Electrical Risks at the Workplace
- Managing Risks of Hazardous Chemicals in the Workplace
- Managing Risks of Plant in the Workplace
- Welding Processes
- Excavation Work
- Demolition Work
- Safe Design of Structures
- Spray Painting and Powder Coating
- Abrasive Blasting.
In addition to the codes, Comcare has a number of guidance documents, and fact sheets, all available on the Codes of Practice page.
Preventing and Managing Fatigue in the Workplace and Responding to Workplace Bullying draft Codes of Practice
In addition, the Preventing and Managing Fatigue in the Workplace and Preventing and Responding to Workplace Bullying draft model Codes of Practice are currently being revised based on public comment. They are expected to be finalised in the first half of 2013. (NOTE: these have not yet been finalised or enacted, April 2016)
Third and Fourth sets of WHS Codes of Practice
On 21 November 2012, Safe Work Australia endorsed 12 more model Codes of Practice, including those relating to workplace traffic management, industrial lift trucks, and the safe design, manufacture, import and supply of plant.
These model codes will take effect in the Commonwealth jurisdiction once they are passed as legislative instruments. When this has been completed, they will replace any applicable current chapters in the OHS Codes of Practice 2008.
The third set of model Codes of Practice cover:
- Safe Design, Manufacture, Import and Supply of Plant
- Working in the Vicinity of Overhead and Underground Electrical Lines
- Traffic Management in Workplaces
- Scaffolding Work
- Formwork and Falsework.
The fourth set cover:
- Managing Risks in Forestry Operations
- Industrial lift trucks
- Amusement devices
- Managing Risks of Plant used in Rural Workplaces
- Managing Security Risks in the Cash-in-transit Industry
- Tree Trimming and Removal Work – Crane Access Method
Last amended April 2016