2017 regs: Summary of changes

Comprehensive guides to the OHS and EPS regulations 2017 are now available on this page of the WorkSafe Victoria website. The guides provide a comparison between 2007 and 2017 regulations, and provide specific details of any associated changes to duty holder requirements.

In summary, however, the main changes we think HSRs should be aware of in the 2017 regulations are:

  • Manual Handling (3.1): 
    • the title has been amended to Hazardous Manual Handling;
    • the definition has been redrafted;
    • changes in what is required for hazard identification and review of controls
  • Noise (3.2): clarification of the trigger to audiological examinations
  • Prevention of Falls (3.3): clarification that legislative obligations still apply to the risk of falls below two metres
  • Confined Spaces (3.4): 
    • removal of supplier duty to eliminate/reduce risk of entry into a confined space (duty of designers and manufacturers of plant remains)
    • duty of employer to retain 'confined entry permit' - removed and replaced with requirement to retain until work is complete or for two years in the event of a notifiable incident
  • Plant (3.5):
    • changes to design requirements for emergency stop devices
    • various changes to duties of designers and manufacturers with regard to record keeping
    • removal of hazard identification and risk control duties of suppliers
    • changes to employer duties for emergency stop devices
    • addition of chairlifts to list of plant subject to record of inspection and maintenance requirements
    • removal of requirement to register the design of tower cranes, lifts or a number of amusement structures (jet packs, hoverboards, rides or devices primarily used as a form of motor sports, and hovercrafts)
  • High Risk Work (3.6): 
    • explicitly providing that WorkSafe may impose terms and conditions when authorising a person to carry out assessments of competency
    • introduction of a new licence class for reach stackers (to come into operation on 18 June 2108)
    • the removal of a requirement to hold a forklift truck operation licence to operate low-lift pallet trucks
    • A number of changes to the requirements and scope of work for the following licences:
      • the dogging licence;
      • the bridge and gantry crane operation licence;
      • the vehicle loading crane operation licence;
      • the order-picking forklift licence
    • major changes to the boiler operation licensing scheme - three classes have been consolidated and replaced with two new classes (standard and advanced), and will take effect 18 June 2018
    • an expansion to circumstances under which a boiler licence is not required
  • Hazardous Substances (4.1):
    • these regulations have been recast to the Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) terminology.
    • All references to the Approved Criteria for Classifying Hazardous Substances, Hazardous Substances Information System (HSIS) and associated terminology have been removed
    • The AgVet labelling requirements have been amended to align with the Model WHS approach which is to allow for APVMA labels but require GHS hazard and precautionary statements
    • the definition of 'container' has been amend to capture containers exceeding 500lts or 500kg
  • Scheduled Carcinogen Substances (4.2): clarification of the exemption to hold a licence (now at reg 174)
  • Asbestos (4.3): 
    • Divisions 5 and 6 of this part has been varied to now cover asbestos in workplaces regardless or not of whether it is fixed or installed - such as asbestos contaminated soil or dust. This will ensure that all asbestos in the workplace is identified and risks controlled
    • clarification that employers notified of asbestos removal work must inform their employees
    • removal of employer's requirement to notify WorkSafe of details of registered medical practitioners engaged to undertake medical examinations
    • the content of the 2007 Dangerous Goods Order (on the removal of asbestos that is not fixed or installed) has been incorporated into the regulation
    • Changes to Class B asbestos removal licence holders (reg 265):
      • can now able remove all non-friable asbestos (including not fixed or installed)
      • remove asbestos contaminated dust (ACD):
        • if it does not exceed 10 minutes in total, and in a cumulative sense, not more than one hour in seven days; or
        • where an independent person determines that airborne asbestos fibre levels are likely to be less than one half of the asbestos exposure standard. 
    • allowing a Class A removal licence holder to engage an independent contractor who operates an excavator, provided that the person is supervised by the licence holder and the asbestos removal supervisor. This information must also be included in the asbestos control plan
    • changes to Schedule 13 (information required in notice of removal work)
  • Lead (4.4): amendment of blood level definition to display the concentration of lead expressed in in both μg/dL (micrograms per decilitre) and umol/L (micromoles per litre).
  • Construction (5.1):
    • references to 'registration' in relation to the construction induction training requirements have been removed; the provisions refer directly to the requirement to undertake construction induction training and to hold a 'construction induction training card' (CI card) evidencing that training has been undertaken.
    • Addition: Employers and self-employed persons must develop emergency procedures if there is a risk of a person becoming engulfed by soil or other material when construction work is being performed.
  • Major Hazard Facilities (5.2):
    • changes to the content requirements of a Safety Management System and the Safety Case prepared by the operator
    • requirement for an operator to provide a copy of the Emergency service plan to municipal councils in the area
    • changes and updates to materials and threshold quantities (previously Schedule 9, now schedule 14) which defines whether a facility is a 'Major Hazard Facility' - to reflect the current state of knowledge
    • changes to additional matters to be included in the safety case
  • Mines (5.3):
    • terminology aligned with WHS regulations
    • flexibility for young workers to be able to enter mines
    • requirement for 'constant communication' with an employee working alone has been amended to 'effective' means of communication
    • operators must ensure air is maintained at a safe level now to 'areas in which person work or travel' as opposed to 'throughout the mine'
    • operator must provide relevant parts of emergency plan to municipal councils
  • Licences (6.1): some changes to some conditions for some licences
  • Registration (6.2): regulations concerning registration to perform construction work in Part 6.2 of the OHS Regulations 2007 have been removed
  • Exemptions (7.2): WorkSafe must provide the required document within 14 days after making the decision to give a notice (of exemption, refusal, variation or revocation)
  • Other changes: Set fees have been replaced by reference to fee units, which increase annually.

Last amended June 2017

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