The SA Government claims that creating separate regulatory and education units at SafeWork SA will better support employers to meet their responsibilities for workplace safety.
SA Industrial Relations Minister John Rau said the SafeWork SA structural reforms followed an overhaul of the State’s workers compensation system and feedback from industry, business organisations and unions.
“It was clear that we could not just fix the system that looks after people when they were injured,” said Mr Rau. “We also needed to fix the system that prevents people from being injured in the first place.
“Essentially, SafeWork SA will now go beyond enforcing work health and safety laws and will comprise two clear operational units – a regulator and an educator.”
The new structure will operate from July 1, 2016. The regulator will comprise industry teams staffed by inspectors, with a focus on ensuring compliance with work health and safety laws and taking suitable enforcement action when breaches are detected.
The educator’s team, comprising mobile work health and safety advisers, supported by customer service staff, will provide people with access to resources, information, licensing services and one-on-one advice.
The new mobile advisory team will visit people in their workplaces to help them understand their work health and safety responsibilities. They will also provide practical support and assistance to set up effective systems for making each workplace safer.
Mr Rau said the new workplace advisory service would have no inspectoral powers under the Act – an important contrast to past practice. “It’s important that employers feel comfortable about inviting an adviser from SafeWork SA into their workplace, without the fear of prosecution, to improve their systems, practices and general approach to safety,” he said.
“This is a contemporary regulatory approach that will benefit workers, employers and the South Australian community by focusing on a safer workplace for everyone.”