Business supports national harmonisation and consistency to achieve practical outcomes
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) has taken the opportunity this week to provide feedback to Safe Work Australia on the draft Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012-2022.
CCIQ remains strongly supportive of implementing a national model of workplace health and safety, as it will reduce red tape, unnecessary complexity and cost, especially for those that operate across jurisdictions. However CCIQ continues to caution policy makers to consider the practicality of any new regulations.
While Queensland was one of the first jurisdictions to implement the reform on 1 January 2012, implementation across the country is yet to occur and there is little benefit for business if it is not adopted nation-wide.
“Queensland businesses continue to remain concerned about the complexity and cost associated with understanding and complying with the WHS system, regulations and Codes of Practices”.
“In supporting a nationally harmonised system, it must be done without increasing regulatory requirements”.
The introduction of more flexible outcome based policy requirements over heavily prescriptive approaches is the key to achieving the desired long term results in the majority of workplaces.
At the same time there is a substantive need for a national strategy that aims to increase the responsibility and accountability of employees in achieving positive WHS outcomes.
Furthermore, CCIQ supports a focus on those industries which contribute the highest number of deaths, injuries and illnesses, as it will go a long way to reducing overall WHS injuries and illnesses.
Also included in the CCIQ submission were the key concerns of Queensland businesses relating to the WHS strategy:
- The WHS obligations of employers versus those of employees;
- Overall complexity of the States’ WHS system;
- Increasing workers compensation costs and claims;
- Understanding of the new WHS legislation which commenced 1 January 2012; and
- Level of State Government assistance in complying with the new WHS legislation.