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Workplace Safety and Health Act: what it covers

The Workplace Safety and Health Act covers the safety, health and welfare of persons at work in a workplace. It requires stakeholders to take reasonably practicable steps for the safety and health of workers and others affected by work.

What is the Workplace Safety and Health Act

The Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Act is an essential part of a framework to cultivate good safety habits in all individuals, so as to create a strong safety culture in workplaces.

The WSH Act requires stakeholders to take reasonably practicable measures to ensure the safety and health of persons at the workplace.

The three guiding principles of the WSH Act are to:

  • Reduce risk at the source by requiring all stakeholders to remove or minimise the risk they create.
  • Encourage industries to adopt greater ownership of safety and health outcomes.
  • Impose higher penalties for poor safety management and outcomes.

Key features

The WSH Act has four key features:

  1. It places responsibilities on stakeholders who have it within their control to ensure safety at the workplace.
  2. It focuses on workplace safety and health systems and outcomes, rather than merely on compliance.
  3. It facilitates effective enforcement through the issuance of remedial orders.
  4. It imposes higher penalties for non-compliance and risky behaviour.

What it covers

The WSH Act covers the following:

What is a workplace

A workplace is any place where a person carries out work or is to work. Some of these workplaces are further classified as a factory.

Responsibilities of stakeholders

The WSH Act outlines the responsibilities of stakeholders. They include employers, principals, occupiers, manufacturers or suppliers (including hazardous substances and machinery and equipment), installers or erectors, employees and the self-employed.

Get help

If you have questions about WSH legislation, you can make an enquiry online.

Last Updated: 1 April 2016