09:27 pm, Thursday 9 September, 2010
Farmers and workers in rural industries in Queensland will have to deal with new safety rules beginning this month after the phase out of legislated occupational health and safety exemptions.
Dr Simon Blackwood, Executive Director for Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ), said the phasing out of exemptions, which began in 1990, mandates rural property workers to comply with Workplace Health and Safety Regulation 2008.
According to Dr Blackwood, the removal of exemptions will ensure workers will get appropriate safety training, certification and licensing.
“The phasing out of these exemptions is part of a staged removal to bring the rural industry in line with other Queensland industries,” he said.
“Exemptions being removed from this September regard registrable plant design, confined spaces and atmospheric contaminants.
In 2009, exemptions on demolition and construction work and use of hazardous substances were revoked in rural Queensland.
“A new rural chemicals guide is available to rural workplaces containing information on herbicides, pesticides, hazardous substances, dangerous goods, flammable liquids, and agricultural and veterinary medicines.
“Workplace Health and Safety Queensland’s A guide to working safely in confined spaces highlights the new requirements and provides useful tools and information.
He notes the new guide highlights how working in a confined space can potentially increase the risk of injury from noise, fumes, extreme temperatures, oxygen depletion and manual handling, among others.
According to Dr Blackwood, the changes that became effective on 1 September did not apply to rural workers who are exempt from holding licence to perform high risk work such as forklift, tower crane and scaffolding.
“The rural exemption for this part of the regulation has been extended indefinitely until the new national model health and safety laws are enacted in Queensland,” he stated.
“The amendment ensures workers in the rural industry are not legally required to undertake the cost of training to obtain a licence only to find out when the national OHS laws are finalised that they may no longer be required to hold a licence to operate in that class of work.
“However, it should be noted that forklift licensing is an excellent means of meeting the requirements of the current WHS legislation to provide a safe workplace,” Dr Derrick said.
Licensing of classes of high-risk work is expected to be required under the nationally harmonised legislation starting 1 January 2012.
You can call the Workplace Health and Safety Infoline on 1300 369 915 for more information about the changes in safety rules in rural industries.
Julia Alder - Do you have an OHS News Story -
Let us know