The Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (SA) was enacted as part of a national push towards consistent laws across Australia. Now any person conducting a business or undertaking is responsible for their workers, even if they are not employees. The new laws recognise that more than one individual or corporate body may be responsible for the health and safety of workers, and the very high standard of care owed to workers is maintained or, in some cases, increased.
The South Australian State Government has also moved to significantly increase the penalties which are levied against employers (and in some instances also employees) where they breach relevant provisions of the legislation. Very substantial costs can be awarded against employers which are unsuccessful in defending prosecutions against it.
Employers need to have a good understanding of their rights and obligations under the legislation. Obtaining proper legal advice at an early stage can reduce the risk of serious accidents and avoid serious legal consequences, such as criminal convictions and hefty fines. We provide advice on the legal aspects of work health and safety, including:
- drafting and implementing health and safety policies;
- advice during the investigation of industrial accidents; and
- representation when a prosecution is pursued.