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QLD strips out safety powers

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QLD strips out safety powers

QLD strips out safety powers

Queensland health and safety representatives are being stripped of their power to direct workers to stop unsafe work.

The power downgrade is among a raft of changes in the Work Health and Safety and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2014, which was introduced into the Queensland Parliament earlier this month.

As previously reported in the e-bulletin, the Queensland Government has been planning these changes for some time.

Late last year the ACTU criticised the proposal to remove the health and safety representatives’ powers.

“Expecting workers to individually speak up about their safety concerns will ultimately mean that many will not speak up or could lose their job if they do,” ACTU Assistant Secretary Michael Borowick said at the time.

Another controversial proposal included in the bill is for unions to give between 24 hours’ and 14 days’ notice before entering a workplace to investigate suspected WHS breaches.

This move was also criticised by the ACTU in late 2013. “Forcing unions to give 24 hours’ notice before visiting a workplace where suspected safety [breaches] are occurring would take pressure off employers to ensure workplaces are always safe,” Borowick said at the time.

The bill also allows for codes of practice adopted in Queensland to be approved, changed or revoked without needing national consultation, as currently required under the Queensland WHS laws.

For more details, visit the changes to the laws.

Published on 27 February 2014 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

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