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Photo: Alarna Cross
Workcover NSW












Commonwealth Government legislation refers to the laws enacted by the Government, and to the legislative documents that set out these laws. The legislation includes Acts of Parliament and subordinate Regulations that are the law, and may be supported by Government policies and guidelines. Some of this legislation covers all industries across Australia, while other legislation is either industry- or state- specific.
The IT industry is governed by various Commonwealth and State legislation, including general legislation such as privacy and copyright law, and legislation specifically enacted in response to new technologies, such as recent anti-spam laws.
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As shown in the diagram, only Acts and Regulations are law. Policies, codes, standards and guidelines are not law; however compliance may be mandatory as a condition of employment or professional membership.
Compliance with the relevant legislation is mandatory, and may be controlled in the workplace through documentation and certification requirements, and formally monitored through processes such as audits and inspections.
Further Information http://legislation.sa.gov.au/Web/Information/Understanding%20legislation/UnderstandingLegislation.aspx


WorkCover NSW promotes workplace health and safety, and provides a workers compensation system for the employers and workers of NSW.

http://www.workcover.nsw.gov.au/Pages/default.aspx


Publications

http://www.workcover.nsw.gov.au/Publications/Pages/default.aspx



LAW AND POLICY

Acts


An Act is legislation made by Parliament. Often, Acts have regulation-making powers allowing regulations to be made under them.

WorkCover’s main statutory functions are to administer the Acts listed under 'further information'.

Further Information http://www.workcover.nsw.gov.au/LawAndPolicy/Acts/Pages/default.aspx



Regulations


A regulation is law and, as such, employers, workers, insurers, designers, manufacturers, suppliers and others must meet their obligations under both the legislation and the regulations. Regulations support the general requirements of the legislation and provide more detail. WorkCover administers the following regulations:
  • Workers Compensation Regulation 2003
  • Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation Regulation 2002
  • Workers Compensation (General) Regulation 1995
  • Workers Compensation (Insurance Premiums) Regulation 1995
  • Workers Compensation Transitional Regulation 1997
  • Workers Compensation (Bush Fire, Emergency and Rescue Services) Regulation 2002
  • Occupational Health and Safety Regulation 2001
  • Occupational Health and Safety (Clothing Factory Registration) Regulation 2001
  • Dangerous Goods (General) Regulation 1999
  • Dangerous Goods (Gas Installations) Regulation 1998
  • Explosives Regulation 2005

Further Information http://www.workcover.nsw.gov.au/LawAndPolicy/Regulations/Pages/default.aspx



Codes of practice


Industry codes of practice provide practical guidance and advice on how to achieve the standard required by the Act and regulation. Codes of practice are developed through consultation with representatives from industry, workers and employers, special interest groups and government agencies.
Codes of practice are made under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000 and must be approved by the Minister for Commerce before they come into effect.
A code of practice is not law, but it should be followed unless there is an alternative course of action that achieves the same or better standards.

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Further Information http://www.workcover.nsw.gov.au/LawAndPolicy/CodesOfPractice/Pages/default.aspx


Standards


Australian Standards set out the safety requirements and provide guidance for persons working in specific areas or who deal with particular equipment. These Standards only become legally binding when they are incorporated into legislation.

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Further Information http://www.workcover.nsw.gov.au/LawAndPolicy/Standards/Pages/default.aspx



Policies


Section 23 of the Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation Act 1998 states that WorkCover shall develop policies for injury management, worker rehabilitation and assistance to injured workers. It also requires that the Authority collect, analyse and publish data, as it considers appropriate.

The policy and legislative development capacity of WorkCover was reviewed in 2001–02 with the aim of taking a more systematic approach to organisational improvement. As a result, a Strategy and Policy Executive Management Committee was formed to oversee corporate direction and a Corporate Strategy and Policy Group was established.

Further Information http://www.workcover.nsw.gov.au/LawAndPolicy/Policies/Pages/default.aspx


What legislation covers occupational health and safety?




The Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000 (OHS Act 2000) is relevant to all NSW workplaces. It describes the general requirements necessary to ensure a safe and healthy workplace, and is designed to reduce the number of injuries in the workplace by imposing responsibilities on individuals and corporations.
Employers, self-employed people, those in control of work premises, machinery and substances, designers, manufacturers, suppliers and workers all have obligations with regard to workplace health, safety and welfare.
The OHS Act 2000 requires employers to consult with workers on matters affecting their health, safety and welfare. It provides three options for doing this:
  • occupational health and safety (OHS) committees
  • OHS representatives
  • other agreed arrangements.
More detailed guidance is provided in the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation 2001 and Codes of Practice, such as the Code of Practice: OHS Consultation (2001) and the Code of Practice: Risk Assessment.

Further Information http://www.workcover.nsw.gov.au/OHS/WorkCoversRoleinOHS/WhatLegislationCoversOHS/Pages/default.aspx