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Review of the current regime
Following the recent publicity surrounding the Pike River tragedy and the Forestry Industry’s record, the Government has begun to implement its plan for a significant overhaul of the Health and Safety legislation. The Health and Safety Reform Bill is based on the current Australian position and will is before a select committee who are currently considering the submissions which interested parties have made. It is expected that the new law will be passed around December 2014 and in effect by April 2015.
A major change to the current regime is the coverage.
The risk of falling foul of the new duties extends beyond just the company/body which constitutes the PCBU. Directors, CEOs, Senior Managers (Partners of law firms) and other officers of the PCBU owe a positive duty to ensure it complies with its obligations. This is significant because currently an officer can only have liability if they are actually responsible for the failure to comply or acquiesced in that failure. The absence of a requirement of positive action by directors and senior managers of corporates in relation to health and safety was seen as a problem with the current law which the Bill seeks to address.
Jackson Russell is experienced in dealing with all aspects of employment and health and safety law. As with the current regime, good compliance will be essential to minimise the risks of breaching the new requirements. We will be providing further information on the law reform as the Bill progresses through Parliament.
If you would like further information about the new or current Health and Safety regimes, or require advice on anything related to employment matters, please contact your usual Jackson Russell advisor or our Employment Law specialists.
The information contained in this publication is of a general nature and is not intended as legal advice. It is important that you seek legal advice that is specific to your circumstances.
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