Health and Safety changes coming next month

A number of regulations to support the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 will be coming into force on 15 May 2017. We have set out in this update a breakdown of the regulations – some of which are merely tidying up references to out-of-date provisions or errors in previous regulations, and some of which will have a more substantive impact on certain operations affected by the regulations.

Health and Safety in Employment Amendment Regulations 2017

These regulations revoke certain provisions in the Health and Safety in Employment Regulations 1995 that are redundant by virtue of the regulations in the Health and Safety at Work (General Risk and Workplace Management) Regulations 2016.

Health and Safety at Work (Asbestos) Amendment Regulations 2017

The Health and Safety at Work (Asbestos) Amendment Regulations 2017 make technical changes to the duties of a person conducting a business or an undertaking when managing asbestos risks or removing asbestos; and to the provisions relating to licensed asbestos removalists.

The 2017 regulations amend the Health and Safety at Work (Asbestos) Regulations 2016 by:

a) amending the definition of the ‘trace level’ of respirable asbestos fibres to align it with current practice by deleting a reference to the level being calculated ‘over any 8-hour period’;

b) amending several provisions to refer to ‘trace level’ rather than to 0.01 fibres/ml;

c) amending several provisions to ensure that all the provisions refer consistently to conditions relating to training, retraining, or reassessment; and

d) making other technical or editorial corrections.

Health and Safety at Work (Mining Operations and Quarrying Operations) Amendment Regulations 2017

These regulations amend the Health and Safety at Work (Mining Operations and Quarrying Operations) Regulations 2016 (the principal regulations) by:

a) clarifying that relevant parts of the principal regulations also apply to a holder of a certificate of competence apart from applying to an applicant for a certificate of competence;

b) correcting errors in the principal regulations;

c) clarifying that in the case of a cancellation of a certificate of competence in the circumstances described in new regulation 40(2) of the principal regulations (which allows the Board to refuse an application for a certificate of competence if it is unable to obtain sufficient information to satisfy it that the applicant is a fit and proper person to hold a certificate of competence and has the qualifications and experience required by the regulations), the relevant provisions of regulation 45 of the principal regulations will apply. Regulation 45 outlines the circumstances in which a certificate of competence may be cancelled or suspended; and

d) revoking the Health and Safety in Employment (Tunnelling Operations – Excluded Operations) Order 2013. This order is no longer required in view of the principal regulations.

Health and Safety at Work (Major Hazard Facilities) Amendment Regulations 2017

These regulations amend the Health and Safety at Work (Major Hazard Facilities) Regulations 2016 (the principal regulations) by amending how the threshold quantity of fireworks is calculated for the purposes of the principal regulations. Instead of using the gross weight of the fireworks as the measure, the new threshold is based on the net weight of the explosive material used in the fireworks. The regulations also correct cross-references in the principal regulations.

Health and Safety at Work (Petroleum Exploration and Extraction) Amendment Regulations 2017

These regulations amend errors and incorrect references in the Health and Safety at Work (Petroleum Exploration and Extraction) Regulations 2016.

How we can help

As you can see, the latest round of regulations have mainly been a tidy up of what was rolled out last year. If you have questions about this update or the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 generally, or you would like to know more about how best to position your organisation to comply with its obligations, our team would be happy to assist you.

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