Work Health and Safety

We are responsible for the Commonwealth’s Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act). The WHS Act applies to the Commonwealth, public authorities and a small number of companies (non-Commonwealth licensees).

Work health and safety (WHS) law in Australia is legislated and regulated separately by each of Australia’s state, territory, and Commonwealth jurisdictions. WHS laws are largely harmonised across the jurisdictions through a set of uniform laws (the model WHS laws). All jurisdictions other than Victoria have adopted the model WHS laws. Victoria has similar duties and responsibilities under its Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic).

The Commonwealth works closely with the states and territories through Safe Work Australia to develop and maintain the model WHS laws. The model WHS laws are comprised of the model Work Health and Safety Act, model Regulations and model Codes of Practice.

State and territory WHS regulators are each responsible for enforcing and regulating their jurisdiction’s WHS laws. In the Commonwealth jurisdiction, the regulator is Comcare.

Meetings of Work Health and Safety Ministers

Ministers responsible for WHS from the Commonwealth and each state and territory meet to discuss and advance WHS matters of national importance.

Communiqués from past meetings:

Documents and a computer screen

Recent updates

On 27 October 2023, Commonwealth, state and territory WHS Ministers agreed to release the Decision Regulation Impact: Prohibition of the use of engineered stone, prepared by Safe Work Australia. WHS Ministers requested Safe Work Australia prepare the report when they met on 28 February 2023. Ministers agreed to meet again before the end of 2023 to settle a position on the options set out in the report to prohibit or limit the use of engineered stone under the model WHS laws.

For further information on the Decision Regulation Impact Statement: Prohibition on the use of engineered stone, please refer to Safe Work Australia’s website.</