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Occupational Health and Safety

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The purpose of the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) laws is to protect the health, safety and welfare of employees and other persons who are at, or come in to contact with a workplace.

Currently, OHS laws are different in each state.  There are planned reforms to harmonise OHS laws across Australia, but not all states have agreed to the model laws.

The following information is relevant to organisations operating in Victoria

In Victoria, OHS in the workplace is regulated by the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic) (the OHS Act) and the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2007 (Vic) (the OHS Regulations). There are different laws in other States and Territories and your organisation will need to check these if it operates outside of Victoria.

The laws set out various duties that organisations and individuals must comply with in the workplace. The laws are regulated and enforced by a Victorian government authority known as the Victorian Worksafe Authority (WorkSafe). Worksafe may prosecute organisations that breach (do not comply with) the OHS law duties that they are required to comply with.

Because a lot of the information and advertisements about Victoria’s OHS laws mention or depict businesses, some people think that the laws only apply to for-profit, business organisations. This is not correct. The OHS Act is very broad and has the potential to apply to all Victorian community organisations (both incorporated and unincorporated). The OHS Act will apply to all community organisations that have employees, but may also apply to community organisations that are completely volunteer-based where they operate in a 'workplace'.

The information on this website is intended as a guide only, and is not legal advice. If you or your organisation has a specific legal issue, you should seek advice before making a decision about what to do.

For comprehensive information, see Not-for-profit Law's Guide to OHS Laws:

Extra Resources

This website contains information on the main OHS hazards facing the NFP sector as well as a range of OHS tools and resources for Victorian community organisations

These VA quick guides provide information for volunteer-involving organisations on their obligations in ensuring the occupational health and safety of their volunteers. The VA has a guide for each state.

The following information is relevant to organisations operating in NSW

In NSW, OHS in the workplace is regulated by the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW) and the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (NSW) (NSW WHS Laws). There are different laws in other States and Territories and your organisation will need to check these if it operates outside of NSW.

The laws set out various duties that organisations and individuals must comply with in the workplace. The laws are regulated and enforced by a NSW government authority known as the NSW WorkCover Authority (WorkCover). WorkCover may prosecute organisations that fail to comply with NSW WHS Laws.

The NSW WHS Laws apply to all community organisations that have employees. They do not apply to organisations which only engage volunteers.

The information on this website is intended as a guide only, and is not legal advice. If you or your organisation has a specific legal issue, you should seek advice before making a decision about what to do.

For comprehensive information, see Not-for-profit Law's Guide to NSW WHS Laws:

Extra Resources