SafeWork Australia has released a decision regulation impact statement on the framework for workplace exposure standards under the model Work Health and Safety (WHS) laws and how it should be kept up to date going forward.
It said the decision was informed by an extensive consultation process, including a business survey and consultation regulation impact statement. Submissions were received from regulators, government, industry and industry groups, unions, professionals and other interested or affected people.
Three options were analysed:
- Option 1: Maintain the status quo.
- Option 2: Maintain mandatory workplace exposure standards and update the workplace exposure standards using a streamlined methodology.
- Option 3: Make the workplace exposure standards advisory and update the workplace exposure standards using a streamlined methodology.
Stakeholder feedback indicated a preference for option 2 with a three-year transitional period, and SWA said its cost-benefit analysis concluded that option 2 provided the greatest net benefit to business and the community.
SWA said Option 2 would reduce the average hospital treatment costs for workplace incidents and the number and cost of workers’ compensation claims resulting from workplace exposure to hazardous chemicals.
It would also improve the quality of life of workers through improved workplace productivity and confidence in healthier workplaces.
Option 2 is expected to incur additional costs to:
- Duty holders in the range of $90 million to $323 million per year over 10 years shared over 185,000 businesses, and
- Government of $205,000 per year over 10 years.
SWA also recommends changing the name of workplace exposure standards to workplace exposure limits.
Read the full decision regulation impact statement.