The forestry and farming industries continue to be high hazard
industries despite their importance to our economy. Each year 1 in
10 workers are harmed and more than 200,000 claims are lodged with
Our current health and safety system is comprised
The Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 ("HSE Act);
Various supporting regulations; and
Codes of practice and guidance material.
This three tier model imposes a range of obligations on
employers, principals, employees, contractors, suppliers and people
who control a place of work, to take all practicable steps
necessary to ensure health and safety at the workplace. This system
has not worked.
To address the failure of the current health and safety system,
the government is intending to repeal the HSE Act and replace it
with the Health and Safety at Work Act.
This new Act will bring in significant changes
The creation of new primary duty holders, being a person in
control of a business or undertaking ("PCBU"). The PCBU is required
to ensure the health and safety of workers and others while at
There will also be a positive due diligence obligation on
officers (including company directors and some managers) to take
specific steps to actively manage workplace health and safety.
Other changes will include:
A new test to determine what is 'reasonably practical', based on
risk of harm occurring;
Harsher penalties with fines increased from $500,000 to
$3,000,000 and up to five years imprisonment;
An increased emphasis on worker participation in health and
A higher level of detail in regulations and codes of practice so
duty holders are better able to understand their obligations.