February 23, 2012



Harmonisation of Safety Legislation

In January 2012, the Federal Government introduced the harmonised Work Health and Safety Act (2011) across all states.

Well, sort of…QLD has fully adopted the Act, NSW and SA is nearly there and Victoria and WA have 12 months to adopt the legislation. There is also a range of Codes of Practice which are still to be released. So really, it’s still a bit of a jumble of laws depending on where you do business.What do the laws mean to events? Well that depends on how you treated your event previously. iEDM SafeEVENT have conducted a review of the legislation with regards to its impact on events and can provide customised practical guidelines and applications.

Briefly however, here are a few of the items you need to know:

1. Every business is known as a Person Conducting Business or Undertaking (PCBU).

2. The Directors and Senior Management of the PCBU hold a positive duty of care to ensure safety in the workplace and that correct compliance is achieved. This duty of care is to all of the company’s workers, contractors, sub-contractors and volunteers etc.

3. For most events, we would see the PCBU in control of the site / commissioning the works to be the Event Promoter.

4. Any work to build a ‘structure’ is defined as ‘construction work’. A structure will include tents, marquees, stages, trusses, scaffold platforms and grandstands to name a few.

5. Where construction work is being conducted there are certain obligations on the PCBU who is commissioning the works.

6. Where the value of construction work exceeds $250,000, the site is referred to as a ‘construction project’ and a Principal Contractor must be nominated.

7. PCBU’s must consult with their workers regarding safety issues in the workplace.

8. Penalties for non-compliance have been set at the following:


9. There is an obligation on designers of structures which requires the Designer to provide the PCBU with a document which identifies the risks associated with a particular structure or the erection / dismantle of a particular structure.

The above represents a very small overview of some of the items within the legislation which effects Event Promoters. There will be lots more detail within the legislation and indeed the codes of practice which safety managers for events will need to understand.

Whilst the laws are very complex, they are also quite clear and some areas have helped to clarify some items within the old legislation. For most event organisers, the harmonisation of laws across States is very welcome as we all operate around the country and operating around differing legislation and compliance principles is very painful.

Should you need any assistance or advice regarding the changes to the safety legislation for particular application to your project or event, please don’t hesitate to contact us.