ACCI's Response To Safe Work Australia's Model Workplace Health & Safety Laws
The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Australia's largest and most representative business organisation has submitted a response to Safe Work Australia's Model Workplace Health and Safety laws.
The business organisations which make up ACCI's National Member Network have also made submissions on behalf of their members. These are attached for downloand as they appear on Safe Work Australia's website.
The Australian Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ACCI) has actively supported the process of harmonisation and continues to do so. In this submission in response to Safe Work Australia's Model Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) laws, ACCI also continues to insist that increasing regulation and the accompanying administrative and regulatory burdens should not outweigh the potential benefits
Harmonisation should also recognise the differing capacities of various employers. A large percentage of Australia’s small and medium businesses (SMEs) employ a large percentage of Australia’s workforce. So it is important that the legislation give full and serious consideration to the capacity of SMEs to implement any regulation.
ACCI advocates that the focus of the new Regulations and Codes must be on the safety outcomes. Any regulations should be thoroughly justified and non-prescriptive, in line with COAG principles. Success in making workplaces safer starts with the workplace culture and attitude, not with regulation. ACCI continues to advocate an effective health and safety culture that requires all those involved in the workplace to accept shared responsibilities and to take them seriously.
ACCI advocates the use of simple regulation with supportive industry specific guidance prepared with detailed stakeholder input. That is the way to engender the right workplace culture and attitude.
ACCI advocates the development of industry specific information to which individuals and organisations can relate. It should provide clear and practical guidance to compliance. It also properly takes into account the diverse nature of workplaces.
ACCI contends that currently many of the provisions seek to impose a regulatory burden where more flexible strategies would better secure safety goals.
Poorly constructed over-regulation significantly undermines the culture that is the basis of improved safety outcomes. Prescription also diminishes the capacity to comply.
ACCI seeks revision of the drafts so that productivity and safety benefits result.