There will be significant changes for the manufacturing and distribution industry under the model Workplace Health & Safety Act, according to a national law firm.
One of the changes that the industry should pay particular attention to is the expanded duty of care owed by any person conducting a business or undertaking to workers whose activities are influenced or directed by the person conducting a business or undertaking.
"This is because manufacturing and distribution businesses may be particularly exposed to a wider interpretation of what constitutes the extent of their ‘undertaking' and therefore expand the pool of persons who are owed a duty of care," said law firm Holding Redlich.
"For example, if your business engages contractors during peak production periods, your business will owe a duty of care to the relevant contractors, any sub-contractors that the contractors engage and their employees."
In an OHS legal update, Holding Redlich said some of the areas that businesses operating in the manufacturing and distribution industry need to consider include:
Plant and structure: manufacturers, importers and suppliers of plant must ensure any structure they install or build has regard to information provided by the designer or "competent person".
Falls: A business must identify all fall hazards and identify and control the risks of people falling by adopting the hierarchy of controls, which includes performing work on the ground or a solid construction, the use of fall prevention devices and implementing administrative controls.
High risk work: There will be new licensing for high risk work such as scaffolding, rigging and the use of cranes, hoists, lifts, forklifts and the use of pressure equipment.
Hazardous chemicals: Pesticides, drugs and poisons may now require separate hazardous substance labeling, while hazardous chemicals will include articles, waste and hazard chemicals generated in the workplace.