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Work Health and Safety Act and Regulations

South Australia's work health and safety laws align with New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory, the Northern Territory and the Commonwealth.

The key principles of the laws, detailed in the Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (SA), are consistent with long established workplace safety standards in that they:

  • establish health and safety duties, including the primary duty to protect any person from exposure to hazards and risks that arise from work
  • provide for worker representation, consultation and participation including through Health and Safety Representatives and Health and Safety Committees
  • enable compliance and enforcement through SafeWork SA, the regulator, and
  • provide for the creation of Regulations and Codes of Practice.

The Work Health and Safety Regulations 2012 (SA) identify the control measures that must be applied to specific work activities and hazards, for example machine guarding and noise exposure.

The supporting Codes of Practice provide practical information on how to meet the requirements of the regulations. The Codes are not mandatory but provide information to help workplaces achieve safe systems of work.

Over time, harmonised work health and safety laws will reduce red tape and compliance costs for businesses that operate across state borders as well as provide workers with the same protections and safety standards regardless of where they work or the work they do. They also recognise licensing and training nationally.

Transitional arrangements

Any significantly new regulation requirements have transitional periods to provide industry, business and workers with time to adapt practices to meet the new requirements.

Associated legislation

Associated legislation covers specific work health and safety issues related to dangerous substances, explosives, mines and works, and petroleum.

Amendments

On 15 December 2016 amendments were made to the Work Health and Safety Regulations 2012 (SA) (the Regulations). The amendments are largely technical in nature and can be divided into four key areas:

  1. Nationally agreed: minor changes agreed nationally by Safe Work Australia members following the 2014 National Consideration into the model work health and safety (WHS) laws to reduce red tape and regulatory burden where health and safety are not affected.
  2. South Australian specific: addressing minor technical and typographical errors raised during the life of the WHS laws.
  3. Simplify Day related: one minor amendment arising from the Premier's recent Simplify Day initiative to include a clarifying note into the Regulations.
  4. GHS related: hazardous chemical labelling requirements under the Globally Harmonised System for the Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS), which were the subject of certain exemptions agreed nationally at Safe Work Australia.

The table below outlines all the amendments within the Work Health and Safety (Miscellaneous) Variation Regulations 2012 which came into operation on 1 January 2017.

A consolidated and updated version of the WHS Regulations is now available online or you can purchase a new copy from Service SA.

Stay informed

Register here for regular information about work health and safety matters in South Australia.

Safe Work Australia also publishes a range of interpretive guidelines and fact sheets about the nation's harmonised work health and safety laws.