04:00 pm, Tuesday 31 January, 2012
There have been several changes to Australia’s health and safety laws as a result of harmonisation. Workplaces are suffering from some confusion about what has changed and when these changes will take effect for their own States and Territories.
Currently, Queensland, Northern Territory, ACT and New South Wales have all adopted the new legislation, albeit with some changes and transitional considerations that differ between the States/Territory. Victoria, Western Australia, Tasmania and South Australia have agreed to the principals of harmonisation, but due to various reasons have delayed the implementation of the laws for at least 12 months. For these States, their existing Occupational Health and Safety laws will be administered.
An important change for many Australian workplaces concerns licensing for the operation of Earthmoving Machinery.
All States/Territories have already implemented the nationally recognized “License to Perform High Risk Work” certification. Under the National scheme, the License to Perform High Risk Work includes the following:
- Forklift operation
- Crane and hoist operation
- Scaffolding work
- Rigging and dogging
- Pressure equipment operation
Prior to the harmonized laws, only two States (Queensland and South Australia) required specific licenses for operation of certain Earthmoving machinery and particular cranes. Queensland, having now adopted the new laws, has discontinued the licensing requirement in line with the Work Health and Safety (2011) Model Regulations and Nationally recognized License to Perform High Risk Work. Licenses that have already been issued will remain “issued” indefinitely with no expiry or renewal date.
Since South Australia has not yet adopted the new laws, the licensing requirements for operation of certain earthmoving machinery remain in force as part of their existing OHS legislation. Currently, in South Australia only, a license is required to operate the following:
- Front end loader
- Skid steer loader
- Road roller
- Bridge and gantry remote control crane
During this transitional time, workplaces should contact their State Authority to obtain the latest updates and information.