On 18 June 2017, Victoria’s new Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 (OHS Regulations) and Equipment (Public Safety) Regulations 2017 (EPS Regulations) will commence.

The new OHS Regulations 2017 are mainly the same for most Victorian duty holders. However, if you are in a workplace where asbestos is present; are a manufacturer or an importing supplier of hazardous substances or agricultural and veterinary chemicals; work in construction, or operate a mine or major hazard facility, you need to become aware of the changes and ensure you are compliant by 18 June 2017.

Most importantly, the new OHS Regulations 2017 maintain Victoria’s already high safety standards. In some high risk areas, like asbestos removal work, they improve standards. The changes also deliver significant savings to Victorian businesses in the areas of high risk work licensing and record keeping for designers and manufacturers of plant.

If you work in construction, you need to be aware of changes to the scope of asbestos registers and asbestos removal work, and a new requirement to arrange notifications and barricades when removal work is being done. There are also changes to the duties for Class A and Class B asbestos removal licences.

For construction, emergency procedures are now required to be developed where there is a risk of a person becoming engulfed by soil or other material on a construction site. In addition, changes to chemical labelling and major hazard material thresholds may require some facilities to reassess quantities and notify WorkSafe where they exceed 10 per cent of their threshold.

If you are affected by the changes, WorkSafe has prepared a range of information and support resources to help you identify what to do to stay compliant when the changes take effect on 18 June 2017. These are available on the WorkSafe website.

With the making of the OHS Regulations 2017, the Minister for Finance has also approved the release of the following eight proposed compliance codes for public comment from Monday 1 May to Friday 9 June 2017.

· Hazardous Manual Handling Compliance Code

· Hazardous Substances Compliance Code

· Plant Compliance Code

· Confined Spaces Compliance Code

· Demolition Compliance Code

· Excavation Compliance Code

· Facilities in Construction Compliance Code

· Noise Compliance Code.

A public consultation website has been set up for the public comment period at consultation.worksafe.vic.gov.au where you can find the proposed codes, a summary of changes, frequently asked questions and make a submission.

Employers, employees, other interested parties and members of the public are invited to comment on the proposed codes.

View this article on WorkSafe Victoria website.

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