Ministers' Council Endorses Australia's Work Health and Safety Act

The endorsement establishes it as the model law for harmonizing OSH regulations nationwide. Subject to a four-month comment period late next year, the act will go into force on Jan. 1, 2012.

Australia's Work Health and Safety Act 2010 is now firmly established as the model law for harmonizing OSH regulations nationwide, with the Workplace Relations Ministers' Council having endorsed the law on Dec. 11 during a meeting in Melbourne.

The act will go into force on Jan. 1, 2012, and already has been amended because of 480 comments submitted this fall. Another four-month comment period will be conducted in late 2010. During the meeting, Australia Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who has the title of minister of employment and workplace relations for the government, said the OSH reforms specified in the law will support a strong, streamlined economy.

The model law will require employers to consult workers who are affected by a health and safety issue, and it includes criminal penalties for duty holders whose conduct exposes a person to a risk or death or serious injury.

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