NEW WHS Laws Affected 1St Jan – Are You Safe?

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The introduction of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (QLD) and the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (QLD) (“WHS Laws”) heralds certain changes for all commercial buildings.

However, in some circumstances units, apartments, town houses and common property in residential community title schemes may be affected as well, depending on whether they can be considered a “workplace”. As a general rule, an owner or occupier of a unit or town house or the Body Corporate does not have duties under the new legislation if the property is used for residential purposes only. There are, of course, exceptions to this and it is important that Bodies Corporate understand when the responsibilities under the WHS Laws will apply to their particular Scheme. For example, if the Body Corporate engages any worker as an employee, the Body Corporate will be expected to comply with the WHS Laws.

It may also be the case that a resident unit manager engaged by the Body Corporate as a contractor (which is usually the case in a management rights business) may have duties under the WHS Laws as a “person conducting a business or undertaking”.

This new legislation applies to buildings built before 31 December 2003 (where previously the comparable legislation applied to buildings built prior to January 1990). An important obligation that will arise, if a Body Corporate or resident unit manager is caught by the WHS Laws, is the requirement to have an asbestos register prepared and an asbestos management plan in place. Thankfully, there are delayed commencement provisions for some of the requirements under the new legislation. For more information please call Cathy at Body Corporate on (07) 5448 8725.

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