YESTERDAY marked a new era in workplace health and safety with Bundaberg businesses operating under national model work health and safety laws for the first time.
Acting Industrial Relations Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the new laws contained in the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 were good news for employers and workers.
"The new laws allow workers to be involved in safety management decisions which will deliver improved safety outcomes in workplaces as well as delivering savings to the Queensland economy of more than $30 million a year," he said.
"The laws also broaden the definition of 'worker' to include labour hire, contractors and subcontractors, as well as imposing the onus of proof on the regulator to prove an offence."
He said the government recognised it would take some to adjust.
Mr Hinchliffe said the State Government had been working closely with employer organisations and unions to make the transition as easy as possible.
"A wide range of education resources have been made available to help Queensland employers and workers get ready," he said.
"More than 80 seminars and information sessions have already been held across Queensland with more to follow in the months ahead."
Mr Hinchliffe said more than 15,000 information kits and 25,000 copies of the Guide to the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 had been distributed.
"Additionally, 10,000 copies of the DVD Executive officers: Know your responsibilities under the new laws have also been distributed," he said.
Bundaberg employers and employees can find out more about the new laws at www.worksafe.qld.gov.au or by calling the WHS Infoline on 1300 369 915.