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Defence Estate Quality Management System (DEQMS) Davis Langdon Certification Services

Legislation - Work Health & Safety

Comcare administers the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act) and Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011 (WHS Regulations) in the Commonwealth jurisdiction. The WHS Act and WHS Regulations implement model work health and safety laws that have also been adopted in most of the Australian states and territories.

Application of the Commonwealth WHS Legislation

  • Applies to all activities of Defence carried out in any Australian State or Territory
  • Applies in harmonised and non harmonised (Vic / WA) States and Territories
  • is NOT limited to activities carried out on Commonwealth land
  • The Commonwealth is the PCBU, NOT the Department of Defence

When does State WHS/OHS Legislation Apply?

  • Applies to the Contractor delivering the Contractor's Activities
  • Applies to the PMCA delivering the Services
  • Regulates Contractor/Consultant behaviour and reporting obligations
  • Commonwealth Places (Application of Laws) Act 1970 (Cth)

Enforcement of WHS Legislation

  • State/Territory Regulators will maintain responsibility for their WHS Legislation (and OHS Legislation in non-harmonised jurisdictions), including:
    • managing safety and prevention of injuries and illness in the workplace
    • enforcing the WHS Legislation
    • managing the workers' compensation scheme and return to work obligations
    • investigating incidents (including notifiable incidents)
  • Comcare maintains responsibility for the matters noted above for workplaces and bodies regulated by the Commonwealth WHS Legislation

What does this mean for Defence Projects?

  • Defence must comply with the Cth WHS Legislation when its projects are being delivered
  • Contractors/Consultants must comply with the relevant State or Territory WHS/OHS Legislation in delivering a project (unless a Non-Cth Licensee)
  • Workers may be governed by both Cth and State WHS Legislation when carrying out work at a Cth Place
  • If a project is in a non-harmonised State, Defence and PMCAs cannot disregard the WHS Legislation - it applies to the Commonwealth irrespective of the State's harmonisation status