“It is well documented that the Australian and New Zealand Safety Law is based on the UK and they have taken bits and modified to fit them best!”
Shirley Parsons ANZ is the latest global expansion of Shirley Parsons and will join existing branches in the UK, Germany, Denmark, The Netherlands, North America, and Taiwan.
As the employment of health and safety practices in the workplace is crucial for both protecting workers and maintaining a safe working environment, we look at the similarities between health and safety practices in the UK, Australia and New Zealand.
“Culturally, the UK, Australia and New Zealand are similar with the Act, Regulations and Guidance of health and safety practices, following similar veins of thought and compliance, which assists in candidates being able to move from one country to another.”
Here’s everything you need to know about Health & Safety in the UK, Australia and New Zealand:
Legislation and Regulatory Bodies.
The UK, Australia, and New Zealand all have similar Acts, Regulations and Guidance,
In the UK Health and Safety legislation is primarily governed by the Health and Safety Work Act 1974, with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) the regulatory body responsible for enforcing and promoting health and safety standards.
In Australia, health and safety legislation varies across states and territories and each jurisdiction has its own legislation. In most states, it’s the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 however regulatory bodies responsible for enforcing the laws are Safe Work Australia,state-based regulators and work health and safety authorities.
‘ALARP’ which is used in the UK and means ‘as low as reasonably practicable’ has essentially the same meaning as ‘SFAIRP’, which is used in Australia and New Zealand, and means ‘so far as is reasonably practicable’.
There are some similarities in the regulatory space that are worth noting. In New Zealand you have WorkSafe. They are the national regulator and operate in much the same way as the HSE in the UK. Australia adopts more of a State specific model with SafeWork Australia being the statutory agency responsible for the Act. Australian regulators sit within specific State Territory agencies such NSW and WA.”
Duty of Care.
When it comes to a duty of care, in the UK employers have a duty of care to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees as well as others who be affected by their work activities. This duty extends to providing a safe working environment, risk assessments, training, and supervision.
Employers in Australia also have a duty of care to ensure the health and safety of workers as well as others affected by the work. This includes providing safe systems of work, eliminating, or minimising risks and ensuring adequate information, instruction, training, and supervision.
Reporting and Incident Investigation.
In the UK, employers have a legal obligation to report certain workplace accidents, injuries, and dangerous occurrences to the HSE. Also, incident investigations may be conducted to identify causes and prevent future occurrences.
Similarly, Australia has a mandatory incident reporting system where employers must report significant workplace incidents to the relevant work health and safety authority. Incident investigations aim to identify contributing factors and implement preventive measures.
OHS Committees and Representatives.
The UK does not have a specific requirement for occupational health and safety (OHS) committees, but employers may choose to establish consultative arrangements with employees or their representatives.
In Australia, OHS committees or work health and safety representatives (WHSRs) are common. These committees/representatives facilitate communication between management and workers regarding health and safety matters.
Compliance and Enforcement.
For compliance and enforcement, the HSE is responsible for enforcing health and safety regulations in the UK. They conduct inspections, investigations, and can take enforcement action against non-compliant employers, including issuing improvement and prohibition notices or prosecuting for breaches.
In Australia, the regulatory bodies have the authority to conduct workplace inspections and investigations to ensure compliance with health and safety laws. Non-compliant employers may face penalties, including fines and prosecution.
Safety in Design is Australia’s equivalent to the UK’s CDM regulations. New Zealand also have ‘Safety in Design’ however the laws don’t cover all aspects and is not classified as a regulation which means it’s not fully enforceable.
Shirley Parsons HSEQ and Sustainability Professional Services.
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