2.1 General Duties

All the duties that were common to the various individual regulations prior to the consolidated 2007 regulation have been put together in this part. This part applies to all the other parts of the regulation, and covers the following important duties:

2.1.1 Installation, use and maintenance of risk control measures
Duty on whoever is required to use a control measure to ensure that it is properly installed, used and maintained. While in a workplace this person would most often be the employer, it could also be a manufacturer, supplier or person in control of a workplace.

2.1.2 Information, instruction and training
Where the regulations require the employer to provide information, instruction and training to employees who may be exposed to the risk, this must include:

  1. the nature of the hazard
  2. the need for, and the proper use and maintenance of, measures to control the risk

    NOTE: this section is now revoked, effective July 1, 2014

2.1.3 Medical examinations and health surveillance
If an employer is required to ensure that an employee is medically examined, or that any health surveillance is conducted, then the employer must provide the employee with information on why this is so, and the type or nature of the medical exam or surveillance. The employer must pay for the examination/health surveillance.

2.1.4 Confidentiality of health surveillance
The employer has a duty to keep the results of medical examination/surveillance, and any summaries, confidential EXCEPT that the employer must provide a copy of the report or summary to:

  1. the employee (as soon as possible after this being requested)
  2. a third party (eg doctor) - if the employee requests this in writing
  3. the Authority - if requested

Note: S69 of the Act permits an elected OHS rep to have access to relevant medical information in a form that does not identify individual workers (eg summaries of reports) OR in a form that DOES identify individuals with their consent.

2.1.5 How to involve health and safety representatives in consultation
This regulation applies if an employer is required under the Act to consult with workers who are represented by a health and safety representative. The employer must involve the rep by:

  1. providing the rep with all of the information the employer provides or is intending to provide to the workers' and
  2. providing that information to the rep BEFORE providing it to the workers - 'unless it is not reasonably practicable to do so' and
  3. inviting the rep to meet with the employer to consult about the matter; and
  4. meeting with the rep (if the invitation is accepted); and
  5. giving the rep 'a reasonable opportunity' to express his/her views; and
  6. taking those views into account.

Under the previous OHS Act (1985), the employer had a duty to consult with elected OHS reps prior to any changes being made to the workplace, the plant, the substances or the sytems of work. Under the current Act, the matters about which the employer must consult have been expanded (see Duty to Consult ). The duty makes it clear that the employer must consult employees where there are no OHS reps in place; AND involve elected reps where they are in place in the workplace.

The full text of the regulations can be viewed and downloaded from the Victorian Legislation and Parliamentary Documents website -  click on Victorian Law Today, then on Statutory Rules, and then on "O" to find the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations.

WorkSafe has produced a number of publications on Consultation and has a topic page on the subject. 

Last amended June 2015

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