Work Health and Safety Act 2011

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The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act) provides a framework to protect the health, safety and welfare of all workers. It also protects the health and safety of others who might be affected by the work your business does.

All workers are protected by the WHS Act. This includes:

  • employees
  • contractors
  • subcontractors
  • outworkers
  • apprentices
  • trainees
  • work experience students
  • volunteers
  • employers who perform work.

The WHS Act also provides protection for the general public so that their health and safety is not at risk by work performed by your business.

The WHS Act places the primary health and safety duty on a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU). A PCBU must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers in their workplace. Duties are also placed on officers of a PCBU, workers and other persons at a workplace.

Most duties under the WHS Act are qualified by the term 'reasonably practicable'.

The WHS Act also sets out the requirements for the following:

  • incident notification
  • consultation with workers
  • issue resolution
  • inspector powers and functions
  • offences and penalties.

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