OH&S laws change for construction industry

HAVING an integrated system for compliance with workplace health and safety obligations has become more critical for those engaged in the construction industry, with many more entities facing the risk of prosecution under new laws, according to workplace relations lawyer at law firm Clayton Utz warns.

HAVING an integrated system for compliance with workplace health and safety obligations has become more critical for those engaged in the construction industry, with many more entities facing the risk of prosecution under new laws, according to workplace relations lawyer Hedy Cray of Clayton Utz.

Cray says that changes to workplace health and safety laws in Queensland which came into effect in July have propelled workplace health and safety compliance in the construction industry to a new level of risk management awareness, requiring a more integrated approach to ensure each key stakeholder can meet their individual responsibilities.

Under changes to the Workplace Health and Safety Act 1999 (Qld), a broader range of entities is now legally responsible for ensuring the health and safety of persons on construction sites, including project managers, principal contractors, designers of structures and “clients”. Manufacturers and suppliers of substances and erectors and installers of plant are also caught.

Cray says the inter-relationship of many of the obligations of these individuals requires a greater level of awareness around workplace health and safety obligations of all those involved in construction projects.

“Previously, the main workplace health and safety responsibilities rested with the owner of a site and principal contractor. Now, a range of parties involved in construction work has obligations to ensure the workplace health and safety of those around them,” Cray said.

Project managers and principal contractors have broader obligations, including ongoing reporting of health and safety aspects of the project and identifying all potential hazards that may affect the health and safety of all individuals on the site.

For more information email cpudig@claytonutz.com.