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