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.

Recent updates

On 22 March 2024, Commonwealth, state and territory WHS Ministers agreed to a number of key implementation matters for the prohibition on the use of engineered stone, which is to come into effect in a majority of jurisdictions on 1 July 2024. 

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