12 New NSW Codes of Practice

August 18, 2014

A Good Time to Review Your “Systems of Work” and Risk Control Measures?

On the 18th of July, WorkCover NSW approved and released 12 new Codes of Practice.

At least one of these new codes applies to your workplace because it applies to all workplaces.

There are now 23 approved Codes of Practice in NSW under the NSW WHS Act 2011.

This may be a good time to review whether the “systems of work” and risk control measures in your workplace are carried out in a manner that fits the guidance in the NSW Code of Practice that applies to that work activity.

This article covers the following topics:

  • What is a WHS Code of Practice?
     

  • Why WHS Codes of Practice are Important in Your Workplace
     

  • The 12 New NSW Codes of Practice
     

  • Four Broad Steps to Implement a NSW Code of Practice in Your Workplace


What is a WHS Code of Practice?
A WorkCover NSW approved code of practice is a practical guide to how you can achieve the standards of health, safety and welfare required under the NSW Work Health and Safety Act and the Work Health and Safety Regulations.

For example the newly released First Aid Code of Practice provides practical guidance on how to comply with duties under the WHS Act and Regulations to provide adequate first aid facilities in the workplace. This Code includes information on first aid kits, procedures, facilities and training for first aiders. It applies to all types of work and all workplaces covered by the WHS Act, including workplaces that are outdoors, mobile or remote.

Like regulations, codes of practice deal with particular issues and do not cover all hazards or risks that may arise in your workplace. The health and safety duties in WHS legislation require duty holders in your workplace to consider all risks associated with work, not only those for which regulations and codes of practice exist.

Why WHS Codes of Practice are Important in Your Workplace
There are a number of good reasons to follow the guidance of any Code of Practice that covers the work activities that occur in your workplace:

  • If you implement the guidance in the WorkCover NSW approved codes of practice that cover your workplace activities, then you will be recognized as taking appropriate action towards achieving compliance with your health and safety duties in the WHS Act, in relation to the activities covered by those Codes.
     

  • The content of a NSW Code of Practice is admissible as evidence in a prosecution by WorkCover under the WHS Act and Regulations. Courts may regard a Code of Practice as evidence of what is known about a hazard, risk, or control, and may rely on the Code in determining what is reasonably practicable in the circumstances to which the Code relates.
     

  • A Code of Practice includes various references to provisions of the WHS Act and Regulations that set out the legal requirements.
     

  • A Code of Practice includes the legal duty of the PCBU, officers, and workers.
     

  • The words ‘must’, ‘requires’ or ‘mandatory’ in a Code indicate that a legal requirement exists and must be complied with.
     

  • The word ‘should’ in a Code indicates a recommended course of action, while ‘may’ is used to indicate an optional course of action.
     

  • WorkCover Inspector will use the content of any relevant Code of Practice as a major reference document when inspecting your workplace.
     

  • The Inspector may refer to a approved Code of Practice when issuing an improvement or prohibition notice.


The 12 New NSW Codes of Practice
First Aid in the Workplace
Construction Work
Preventing Falls in Housing Construction
Managing Electrical Risks in the Workplace
Managing Risks of Hazardous Chemicals in the Workplace
Managing the Risks of Plant in the Workplace
Safe Design of Structures
Excavation Work
Demolition Work
Spray Painting and Powder Coating
Abrasive Blasting
Welding Processes.

The Codes of Practice approved by WorkCover NSW under the NSW WHS Act 2011 can be found on WorkCover’s website.

However there are other NSW approved Codes of Practice that were approved under OHS legislation and have not been withdrawn by WorkCover.

 

You can find all the NSW Codes on WorkCover’s website

 

Four Broad Steps to Implement a NSW Code of Practice in Your Workplace

Here are steps you may find useful to take in your workplace.

 

  1. Look at the titles of the Codes of Practice in NSW you can see this list on WorkCover’s website
     

  2. Make your own list of the Codes that apply to activities that are performed in your workplace.
     

  3. Compare the guidance in each Code with what occurs in your workplace and create a list of any deficiencies that need to be addressed
     

  4. Take whatever action is needed to bring your systems of work and risk control measures into alignment with the guidance in the Code that applies to that work activity.

 

Note: Codes of Practice are one of the elements covered in Courtenell’s short online course called The WHS Legislative Framework. This online course is free for all attendees at Courtenell public and onsite courses.

 

 

You are welcome to download and distribute the article in
your workplace if you feel it may be useful

 

 

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Courtenell Pty Ltd

as Trustee for the Vowles Family Trust

WHS Training Specialists, Sydney, Australia  

train@courtenell.com.au ~ PO Box 622 Broadway NSW 2007

ABN: 42164393628 ~ ACN: 050109281