2020 Work Health and Safety Act 2011(NSW) Amendments

July 15, 2020

The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW) (the WHS Act) Amendment Bill 2020 received assent on 10 June 2020, changes are now in force.

*Statutory Liability Insurance Policies have been impacted.*

The Amendment has made it unlawful to insure against monetary penalties under the WHS Act.

When does this change come into effect?

If your Statutory Liability Insurance Policy was in place before 10 June 2020, your existing policy continues to provide cover for monetary penalties under the WHS Act for any workplace incidents that occurred before that date.

There is no cover for monetary penalties under the WHS Act for workplace incidents that occurred on or after 10 June 2020.

Other Amendments to the WHS Act

  • Prohibition of insurance and indemnity arrangements – ensuring that the responsibility of paying WHS fines can not be transferred.
  • Enhancement of the Category 1 offence by including ‘gross negligence’ as a fault element, making it easier to prosecute and create a stronger incentive for duty holders to manage WHS risks.
  • Increased penalty amounts for all WHS offences – ensuring penalties retain their deterrent value (in line with CPI).
  • Extension of time in which a person can ask the WHS regulators to start a prosecution in response to a Category 1 or Category 2 offence from 12 to 18 months and addition of a requirement that the WHS regulator provides updates every three months to the requester until a decision to prosecute is made – To ensure that during investigations of workplace accidents, families are kept informed and have access to an effective review mechanism for decisions not to prosecute.
  • Clarification that a Health and Safety Representative (HSR) can choose their course of training – To avoid unnecessary delays which can affect an HSR’s ability to fulfil their role and exercise their powers.

For full detail into the passage of the Work Health and Safety Amendment (Review) Bill 2020 (NSW) .

What action does your organisation need to take?

  1. Review your risk management strategy ensuring WHS policies, procedures and WHS Management Systems are actively embedded in your organisation.
  2. Speak to your Gow-Gates Account Manager to identify any premium adjustments to your existing Statutory Liability Insurance Policy.

The information provided is general in nature and is not a complete summary of the Amendments or your obligations under the WHS Act. This information is not legal advice; if you require further information regarding your particular legal requirements, please seek independent professional advice.

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