A range of amendments are likely to follow a recent review of SafeWork SA but will not include allowing union officers to bypass the right-of-entry requirements when seeking to assist HSRs.

Current provisions, added in 2012 and unique to South Australia, require entry permit holders to notify the regulator before entering a workplace, and then provide a report to the regulator after entry has been completed.

Disappointingly the SA Government rejected former WorkSafe Victoria executive director, John Merritt’s recommendation regarding the above provision, claiming there’s no ‘evidentiary basis for why this recommendation is necessary.’

Merritt’s review, finalised in December 2022, was released publicly last week.

In their preliminary response the SA Government flagged support for 25 of the recommendations, rejection of four, with decisions on the remaining 10 subject to ‘further consultation with stakeholders.’

The 113-page review recommends SafeWork SA ‘raise its ambition for safer workplaces’ and adopt a vision matching the objects of the WHS Act -  to secure ‘the safety of workers and workplaces', and 'protect workers and other persons against harm.’

Included in the reports recommendation are:  

  • That the performance of SafeWork leaders be measured against improvements in work-related fatality and injury rates
  • The establishment of a ‘SafeWork SA Oversight and Advisory Council’ to receive and provide advice on the regulator's activities and performance
  • The development of a new strategy to support HSRs, including by ensuring SafeWork inspectors adhere to their WHS duty to notify relevant HSRs when entering a workplace
  • Section 271 of the Act be amended to better allow SafeWork to inform injured workers, or the families of people killed at work, of the progress of investigations and decisions around prosecutions

Source: OHS Alert 03 February

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