From January 1 2013, the “harmonisation” of Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare laws (OHS &W) applies in most Australian states and territories. This means all business operators need to familiarise themselves with the harmonised regulations and make sure their business meets compliance standards.
One Act fits all: why the changes have been put in place.
It has been difficult for business operators working across more than one jurisdiction to manage compliance due to differing legislation in each state and territory. This was recognised by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in 2008, and work began to start the process of “harmonising” work health and safety laws across the states and territories (jurisdictions).
The harmonisation model is aimed at providing each jurisdiction with a set of laws modelled on the Work Health and Safety Act (Model Act), with some amendments to reflect differences within those jurisdictions.
What does this mean for small business operators?
The two keys to compliance are duty of care (your responsibility to those you deal with in the day-to-day operations of a small business) and due diligence (the ways you manage that responsibility).
Responsibilities for small business operators include: the identification and assessment of risks and hazards, the removal or limitation of hazards, record keeping – for example registers and reports – and writing a statement of intention for safety in your business.
You can see that there are two ways that safety needs to be addressed to ensure compliance;
2. Record keeping
Aware365 can assist you in both these areas, with “ready-made” package options that can be tailored to your business.
Considering taking the risk?
The Model Act and Model Regulations contain significantly higher penalties than existing laws. If you are not able to demonstrate compliance after an OHS &W incident, you will not only risk facing these heavier penalties, but you could even lose your business due to snowballing costs; not to mention the trauma and stress these incidents can cause to yourself, impacted employees and third parties. Finally, there are the costs that can continue well past any incident resolution – such as the impact to your professional reputation and that of your business.
How aware365 can help
Aware 365 was established with the goal of assisting small business operators through the process of harmonisation in a way that is easy to integrate into your day to day operations and that takes into account the particular requirements and culture of your business… and it’s affordable!
For more information on how the harmonisation of safety laws will affect your business, contact aware365 today.
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