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 New Work Health & Safety Legislation - From January 1st 2012

From January 1st 2012 new Work, Health & Safety legislation will be introduced in line with harmonising legilsation between all states of NSW.

To assist with the changes WorkCover is holding webinars highlighting the changes. The next webinar will be on December 15th 2011 from 10:00 - 11:30am. you must register to participate through the WorkCover website.

New terms to be introduced:
* Person conducting a business or undertakingbr (PCBU)
*Reasonably practicable requires a PCBU to do what is effective and possible to ensure the health and safety of workers and others
* 'Officer' is a broad term that applies to people who can make decisions that significantly affect a business or undertaking. Officers must exercise due diligence to ensure their business or undertaking fulfils its health and safety obligation
* There is a new definition for 'workers' to reflect the diverse employment arrangements in many workplaces. A worker is any person who performs work in any capacity for a business or undertaking including labour hire staff, volunteers, work experience students, contractors, sub contractors, apprenctices, trainees and outworkers.

SUMMARY AND KEY CHANGES:
* Introduction of health and safety representatives
* WHS entry permit holders required to give notice before entering a workplace under certain circumstances
* The establishment of generic risk management provisions, including a hierarchy of controls, which will apply to all duties under the regulations
* Residual current devices will only be required for hostile environments or hostile operations. These requirements will apply from 1 January 2013
* There are new requirements for licensing of asbestos assessors (normally occupational hygienists) and obligations on persons conducting a business or undertaking to use licensed asbestos assessors for air monitoring and clearance certificates when removing friable asbestos
* Class A (friable) asbestos removal licence holders will be required to have a certified safety management system
* There is no provision for pest management technicians or fumigation certificates of competency and no high risk work licensing classes for load shifting activites such as excavator and backhoe operation. However there will be a new licence class for reach stackers
* Certain demolition work must be notified to the regulator. NSW will retain its current licensing arrangements until demolition licensing under the national occupational licensing scheme commences (at least 2013)
Major overhaul and shutdown works of fixed plant, such as at power generation plants, will be subject to requirements in the construction chapter in relation to coordination of works by five or more persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) at any one time
* Provisions relating to chemicals will be based on the globally harmonised system for classification of chemicals, subject to a five-year transitional period. This will now extend to chemicals that are dangerous goods
* A new provision for PCBUs to provide for audiometric testing of workers who are frequently required to wear hearing protection to protect the worker against noice above the exposure standard
* Notification of schedule 11 hazardous chemicals (dangerous goods) only when they exceed the manifest quantity, and thereafter only when there is a significant change in risk
* Registration of items of plant every five years, rather than annually.
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