Renewed Presence for OHS Nationalisation

Alena Titterton writes:

A new website has been launched to support the Heads of Workplace Safety Authorities (HWSA).  

The HWSA brings together senior executives from the various workplace safety authorities in Australia (Commonwealth, State and Territories) with the aim of progressing national consistency, harmonisation and best practice in occupational health and safety.

The HWSA has 6 stated objectives:

  • to provide a forum for discussion of matters of interest to agencies responsible for the administration of OHS in Australia and New Zealand;
  • to generate and implement joint national activities;
  • to consider practical issues associated with the administration and implementation of OHS legislation and agree to nationally consistent approaches;
  • to cooperate with Australian Safety and Compensation Council (ASCC) and facilitate the achievement of national goals including the National OHS Strategy;
  • to review the efficacy of national and jurisdictional strategies in improving OHS performance; and
  • to liaise with the Heads of Workers Compensation Authorities (HWCA) and where appropriate engage in joint projects.

According to the Chair of HWSA, Mr John Watson, HWSA has agreed on a national campaign agenda to be conducted by Australia’s OHS authorities in 2008/09. Three campaigns are planned, targeting:

  1. manual handling and moving objects in the Retail Wholesale Transport and Storage industry;
  2. new and young workers in the Hospitality and Service industries; and
  3. issues associated with violence in the Healthcare industry.

A number of industries will be pleased to hear that the HWSA intends to identify and overcome jurisdictional obstacles to the implementation of national standards and codes of practice through its Construction Implementation Working Group.  The following Standards and Codes are on the initial agenda:

The franchise industry should expect a national set of OHS requirements for franchise sector agreements as the HWSA Small Business Network is also undertaking a project in consultation with the Franchise Council of Australia to develop such requirements.

For further information on the HWSA and its activities, check out the website here.


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