Thu 08 Jun 2017

New OH&S Regulations (Vic) 2017:

CCF Members are advised that on 18 June 2017, Victoria’s new Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 (OHS Regulations 2017) will come into effect, replacing the 2007 version.

There are a number of substantive changes in the new Regulations, however it is not expected to be overly onerous on the civil contracting industry.

A detailed summary of the changes can be found WorkSafe Victoria’s Summary of Changes. CCF encourages members to familiarize themselves with the full content of the document. CLICK HERE to see the summary.

In short, the items that may have the main implications for those of us in the civil contracting industry include:

Part 3.1 – Manual Handling

The title of the Part has been amended from ‘Manual Handling’ to ‘Hazardous Manual Handling’.

Employers are required to identify any  ‘hazardous manual handling’ undertaken, or to be undertaken, by an employee.

This encourages employers  to focus on all work undertaken by an employee having  the characteristics of ‘hazardous manual handling’ by de-emphasising the terms ‘repetitive’ (in relation to posture) and ‘sustained’ (in relation to movements) – thereby inferring that the risk is inherent in any manual handling activity, regardless of duration or repetitions.

Employers will also now be required to  review a risk control measure before any change to  plant or a system of work.

Part 3.2 – Noise

The changes to this section  is in the ‘trigger for an audiological examination’ to be required. This trigger is a reduction  in hearing level of 15db or greater over a two year period, regardless of how many tests are undertaken over that  two year period.

Part 3.3 – Prevention of Falls

This amendment clarifies that legislative obligations still apply to the risk of falls below two metres.

Part 3.4 – Confined Spaces

The requirement for an employer to retain a  ‘confined space entry permit’ for 30 days has been removed and replaced with a requirement for an employer to retain the permit until the work is completed; or for  two years in the event of a notifiable incident.

Part 3.5 – Plant

This amendment requires an emergency stop device to be of a type that, after use, can only be reset manually. This means emergency stop devices must be a ‘latch in’ type device, rather than a ‘stop and lock off’ type.

The duty imposed on suppliers that requires that hazard identification and risk control requirements placed on designers and manufacturers of plant have been carried out prior to supplying the plant have been removed. Although the regulation has been removed, suppliers still have general duties under section 30 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (OHS Act)  to ensure that that plant they supply is safe and without risks to health if it is used for a purpose for which it  was designed, manufactured or supplied.

Tower cranes

There is no longer a requirement to register the design  for the foundations or supporting structure and crane ties of a tower crane.

However, there is still a requirement to register the design of the tower crane with WorkSafe prior to its use.

Licence Holders

A licence holder, who applies for a licence renewal  before the licence expires, can continue to perform work until a renewal is granted or until 14 days after being  given written notice that the application has been refused.

A provision has been inserted to explicitly provide that WorkSafe may impose terms and conditions when it authorises a person to carry out assessments of competency.

Dogging

The existing definition of ‘dogging’ has  been redrafted to provide clarity that a dogging licence  is required if either of the following applies:

  • the activity requires the application of slinging techniques; or
  • the load is being moved outside the view of the operator.
Reach Stackers

A new licence class for Reach Stackers has been introduced. This allows operators to train and receive a licence for operating reach stackers without having to cover all the competencies required for a non-slewing mobile crane operation licence.

Holders of a mobile crane licence will continue to be  able to operate a reach stacker.

Bridge and Gantry Crane Operators

the scope of the work for a bridge and  gantry crane operation licence includes the application  of load estimation and slinging techniques to move a  load with a bridge crane or gantry crane.

Previously this work could only be performed by a  person holding a dogging licence.

Vehicle Loading Crane (eg. Crane Trucks)

The scope of the work for a vehicle loading crane operation licence includes the application of load estimation and slinging techniques  to move a load with a vehicle loading crane.

Vehicle Loading Crane & Slewing Mobile Crane Licence

Each of the slewing mobile crane licence classes has changed to maintain safety. A slewing mobile crane operation licence will continue to allow the licence holder to operate a vehicle loading crane but the licence holder is not allowed to carry out the application  of load estimation or slinging techniques to move a load with a vehicle loading crane.

Part 4.1 – Hazardous Substances

The regulations have been recast to the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling  of Chemicals (GHS) terminology.

The definition of container in the OHS Regulations 2017 has been amended to capture containers exceeding  500 litres or 500kg i.e. bulk containers.

Part 4.3 – Asbestos

The OHS Regulations 2007 only apply to a workplace where there is fixed and installed asbestos present.  This creates a regulatory gap in a scenario where there may be no fixed or installed asbestos present at the workplace but there may be other forms of asbestos  such as asbestos contaminated soil or asbestos- contaminated dust.

This will ensure that all asbestos in the workplace is identified  and the associated risks are appropriately managed.

A requirement has been introduced to the OHS Regulations 2017 for licensed removal work that employers who have been informed of asbestos removal should inform their employees in immediate and adjacent areas.

The context of limited non-licenced removal work on  a domestic premises has also been clarified in the  OHS Regulations 2017. The person who commissioned  the work is the employer or self-employed person for the purposes of informing others. This will make it clear that occupiers of domestic premises do not have regulatory duties.

The requirement to notify WorkSafe of the name and contact details of registered medical practitioners engaged to undertake medical examinations has been removed in the new Regulations.

The content of the current Dangerous Goods Order 2007 has been incorporated into the OHS Regulations 2017. This means that the regulations have been extended to regulate the removal of asbestos that is not fixed or installed, including asbestos contaminated dust.

Class B asbestos removal licence holders are now able to remove all non-friable asbestos under the OHS Regulations regardless of whether the asbestos is fixed or installed, or not fixed or installed.

In relation to the removal of asbestos contaminated  dust (ACD) not associated with the removal of non-friable asbestos, the requirements outlined in DG Order have been included.

This allows Class B removal of ACD:

  • If the removal of ACD does not exceed 10 minutes  in total, and in a cumulative sense does not exceed  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.

Excavator Operations

A Class A licence holder is now allowed to engage  an independent contractor who operates an excavator provided the independent contractor is supervised by  the licence holder and the asbestos removal supervisor.

The change will enable Class A licence holders to access excavator operator services where necessary from time  to time to undertake asbestos removal work. The  regulation protects health and safety by ensuring that  the independent contractor is appropriately supervised.

As independent contractors (excavator operators only)  are allowed to perform asbestos removal work for a Class A licenced asbestos removalist under the OHS Regulations 2017, the asbestos control plan has to include the name  of any independent contractors engaged.

In relation to a notice of asbestos removal work to WorkSafe, the following applies:

  • Asbestos contaminated dust has been included
  • The number of contractors has been included given that independent contractors (excavator operators only) are now allowed to perform asbestos removal work.
  • The name of the independent person, who determined that airborne asbestos fibre levels are likely to be less than one half of the exposure standard, is now  required as well.

If you are applying for an asbestos removal licence, you are now required to declare whether or not you have ever been found guilty of an offence under specified Environment Protection laws, where the offence relates to the transport or disposal of asbestos.

Part 5.1 – Construction

The key changes to the Construction regulations are in relation to:

  1. The references to ‘registration’ in relation to the construction induction training requirements have been removed. Changes have also been made to ensure that  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.
  2. The provision in the OHS Regulations 2007, which specifies that self-employed persons have the same  duties as an employer, has been removed.
  3. ‘Self-employed person’ will now be specifically referenced  in any regulation where a self-employed person has a duty and where such a duty is required to be compliant with the OHS Act.
  4. Employers and self-employed persons are now required  to develop emergency procedures if there is a risk of a person becoming engulfed by soil or other material when construction work is being performed.

Part 6.1 – Licences

The key changes to the Licences regulations are in  relation to:

The mechanism for conversion of expired old certificates (i.e. certificate of competency and old style certificates issued under former legislation) to current high risk work licences at regulation 6.1.1(2) of the OHS Regulations 2017 has been removed.

The OHS Regulations replaced certificates of competency with high risk work licences in 2007 and provided for the phased expiry of all old certificates by 30 June 2012. The change will therefore close a 10 year transition  period for the conversion of old certificates to high risk work licences.

Regulation 6.1.9(b) from the OHS Regulations 2007  has been amended to require an application for a high  risk work licence to include a notice of assessment (satisfactory) and remove references to statement  of attainment.

Only a notice of assessment (satisfactory) will be recognised as evidence of a person’s competency in  a licence application.

Part 6.2 – Registration to Perform Construction Work

The requirement to be registered will be discontinued but under changes to Part 5.1—Construction in the OHS Regulations 2017, workers will still be required to complete construction induction training and hold a construction induction card (subject to exceptions which have remained unchanged).