In the ACT, the Work Safety Act 2008 is the legislation which covers health and safety in workplaces. This is known as the principal Act. The aim of the Act is to stop anyone from being killed, injured or becoming ill as a result of a workplace or the work carried out at such places. A workplace can be any place where work is done – so it can include a vehicle or a client’s home.
Below the principal Act sit the Work Safety Regulations. The regulations outline what you must do with regard to certain matters. For example, while obligations in respect of workplace consultation are outlined in broad terms in the principal Act, the regulations provide a great deal more detail as to the mechanics of how consultation must occur. The regulations outline specific obligations in respect of a range of specific matters – such as manual tasks, provision of amenities for workers, electricity, surfaces and floors, etc.
Finally, there are specific Codes of Practice in respect of certain matters. Codes of Practice set a minimum standard for management of health and safety in respect of certain topics. While if an employer follows the code, they will have met the requirements of the legislation, they may also take a different course of action as long as it is at least as effective as that outlined in the code.
Summary of requirements under the Act
The following is a broad summary of the requirements of the Work Safety Act 2008:
To find out more about the ACT’s health and safety legislation, refer to WorkSafe ACT's Legislation page.