Legislation

Work health and safety (WHS) laws based on national model legislation now apply in the Commonwealth and in all Australian states and territories except Victoria and Western Australia, where earlier occupational health and safety (OHS) laws still apply. 

These laws aim to protect people’s health and safety at work by imposing obligations on all parties who are in a position to contribute to the successful management of workplace risks, including manufacturers and suppliers of equipment and substances, as well as employers, workers, contractors and others.

In each jurisdiction, an Act of Parliament supported by regulations is administered by the relevant WHS or OHS regulator – generally known as WorkCover or WorkSafe. The regulator provides advice and guidance, as well as enforcing the law through its inspectorate. 

WHS laws are supported by codes of practice that provide practical guidance in achieving the standards of health and safety required by law. Model WHS codes of practice are also developed at the national level, and subsequently adopted by the various state and territory authorities where harmonised WHS laws have been implemented.

Health and safety laws in effect across Australia are as follows:
[Last updated 15 October 2017]

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