ACCI Welcomes Release of National Model OHS Regulations
8 December 2010
The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Australia’s largest and most representative business organisation, has welcomed the release overnight by Safe Work Australia of proposed occupational health and safety (OHS) legislation for public comment.
ACCI has been a leading industry participant in the process of harmonising OHS laws and working to ensure that the interests of all businesses, large and small, across the diverse range of industry sectors, are part of the process.
ACCI's Director of Workplace Policy David Gregory said, "While nationally operating businesses gain efficiencies from national harmonisation, most employers are small and medium businesses operating in one jurisdiction. Matters of detail in the OHS package require further discussion between industry and governments if harmonisation is to not increase compliance burdens, especially on these smaller enterprises. ACCI urges business organisations to use this public comment period until 4 April 2011 to add to the already extensive advocacy ACCI and our member organisations have undertaken."
“We repeat our public call that the New South Wales Government must not stand in the way of OHS harmonisation by holding out for extreme laws which are out of step with national standards and which have been criticised by no lesser authority than the High Court of Australia," David Gregory said.
"Effective management of workplace health and safety requires commitment from everyone in the workplace, with all parties needing to understand their respective responsibilities. This is critical in particular for small businesses, which are often the least resourced," David Gregory said.
"The ongoing focus of OHS must be on flexibility and shared responsibilities in the workplace. Employers and employees should be working together in ways that are effective within their own workplaces. Many employers will have existing structures in place or may have other innovative ways to work together. This public comment phase is again an opportunity for industry to assess the proposed Safe Work Australia package and to provide feedback via their industry and employer associations," he said.
"The key challenge for the harmonised legislative package is to provide the right guidance to assist both small and large businesses to support their commitment to OHS by reviewing their information and systems for managing their individual work, health and safety arrangements. In the longer term the continued development and promotion of simple, easy to understand material that clearly identifies what actually has to happen in the workplace is critical to all," David Gregory said.