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Compliance Codes – Changes!

Posted by Richard Forster on 8 February 2022

Compliance codes provide practical guidance to duty holders on how to comply with duties under the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act 2004 and OHS Regulations 2017.

While the guidance provided in a compliance code is not mandatory, a duty holder who complies with a compliance code will, to the extent it deals with their duties and obligations under the relevant legislation, be considered to have complied with those duties or obligations.

Compliance codes use simple language, examples, pictures and diagrams to show known, available and effective means of achieving compliance in everyday circumstances and situations.

There are currently 17 Compliance codes that are operative in Victoria. These can be located here

https://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/compliance-codes-and-codes-practice

3 of these codes are currently under review:

  • Workplace amenities and work environment;
  • Communicating occupational health and safety across languages; and
  • Foundries.

It is also proposed that a new Compliance code dealing with Lead will be made. The timeline for completion of the above is end of March 2022 subject to ministerial approval.

The code with the most likely impact on workplaces is the proposed Workplace facilities, amenities and work environment compliance code (proposed code). It is based on the current Workplace amenities and work environment compliance code. Note the insertion of the word “facilities” in the proposed code’s title.

It provides practical guidance to employers on how to comply with their duty to provide and maintain, so far as is reasonably practicable, a working environment that is safe and without risks to health.

The proposed code has been updated to align with other recently made compliance codes

It has also been updated to:

  • provide clearer delineation between workplace facilities and workplace amenities;
  • improve the structure and order of information across and within parts, for better readability;
  • incorporate style and language updates to ensure it is consistent with WorkSafe's advisory language framework, including appropriate use of ‘must’, ‘needs to’ and ‘should’;
  • include information about additional hazards such as infectious disease outbreaks and bushfire smoke;
  • include information about the provision of all gender facilities such as toilets, change rooms and showers;
  • provide more detailed information on heating, cooling and thermal comfort considerations;
  • include more detailed guidance for mobile, temporary and remote workplaces; and
  • provide new information on communications for mobile and remote employees.

The proposed code will also include a revised Facilities and amenities planning checklist.

Further information on the proposed codes can be found at https://engage.vic.gov.au/

 

 

 

 

Author:Richard Forster

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