Work Health and Safety Act

    Asia-Pacific

    Work Health and Safety Act

    The Australian Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (‘the WHS Act’) provides a framework to protect the health, safety and welfare of workers and workplaces, as well as others who might be affected by the workthrough the elimination of risks arising from work. 

    Last Updated: July 30, 2019


  • Requirements

    Under the WHS Act, a person is a worker if the person carries out work in any capacity for a person conducting a business or undertaking, including work as: 

    • an employee;  
    • a contractor or subcontractor;  
    • an employee of a contractor or subcontractor;  
    • an employee of a labour hire company who has been assigned to work in the person’s business or undertaking;  
    • an outworker;  
    • an apprentice or trainee;  
    • a student gaining work experience;  
    • a volunteer; or 
    • a person of a prescribed class.

    The WHS Act requires that a person who conducts a business or undertaking ensures the health and safety of workers engaged by the business while the workers are at work in the business or undertaking, so far as is reasonably practicable. 

    The business is required to manage risks by: 

    • eliminating risks to health and safety so far as is reasonably practicable 
    • if elimination is not reasonably practicable, minimising the risks so far as is reasonably practicable.

    Comcare has issued guidance as well as codes of practice to assist businesses comply with the WHS Act. 

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