Work Health & Safety
Work Health and Safety (WHS) legislation comes into effect on 1 January 2013. The Work Health and Safety Act 2012 arises out of agreements between the Commonwealth and State Governments to harmonise WHS law across the country and is a big step forward for both employers and employees in Tasmania. The laws apply to all businesses in Tasmania including GBEs, the University and the State Service.
There are significant opportunities to improve safety outcomes across all areas of CPSU membership but in order to make a genuine difference we need to more fully understand the situation in your workplace, examine your opinions on WHS and plan union activities based on what we find. By getting active around WHS individual Members and their union can make all workplaces safer.
The new Act will improve the mandatory health and safety obligations on employers and will provide for hefty penalties for breaches. The legislation also improves provisions around representation rights and participation by workers in WHS matters, consultation and training. Used properly it should be a great leap forward for employees in Tasmania and bring about big savings for employers who do the right thing through diminishing insurance premiums and worker absences.
The Tasmanian State Service (TSS) is performing extremely poorly when it comes to WHS. In a report issued by Workcover Tasmania earlier this year (Progress against the National OHS Strategy, May 2012, available for download below) it is reported that the is the worst performing of all segments in both injuries resulting in less than 5 days’ absence from duty and those resulting in greater than 5 days’ absence. On the shorter absence measure the TSS has injury rates approximately 50% higher than agreed National targets. For longer absences the TSS misses the target mark by about 70%. Given the report observes that even these deplorable figures may be understated, it is clear there is much work to be done to make State Service workplaces safer. The report is fairly short but very informative and the CPSU encourages members to take a look to see just how bad the performance of Government as an employer is when it comes to WHS.
There is a lot of information available and much more is currently in various stages of production.
January 9 Update: CPSU letter to Heads of Agencies, see below
Read the latest in the link below, including a letter from the CPSU to the Premier
Below are a number of foundation documents: