WHS/OH&S acts, regulations and codes of practice

Safe Work Australia leads the development of national policy to improve work health and safety and workers’ compensation arrangements across Australia. It does not regulate or enforce WHS legislation. As a business owner, you must meet the WHS requirements set out in the acts and regulations in your state or territory. You may face penalties if you don’t meet them.

Acts give a general overview of how to make workplaces safe and healthy. They outline your legal responsibilities and duties as an employer and business owner.

Regulations set out the standards you need to meet for specific hazards and risks, such as noise, machinery, and manual handling. They also set out the licenses you need for specific activities, the records you need to keep, and the reports you need to make.

Regulating agencies (also known as regulators) administer health and safety laws. They’re responsible for inspecting workplaces, providing advice and help, and handing out notices and penalties where necessary.

When courts are deciding whether workplace health and safety laws have been met, they may consider whether you’ve followed the approved codes of practice for your state or territory. You can get the approved codes of practice, and advice and support from the regulator in your state or territory listed below.

Read more about workplace health and safety to understand the benefits to your business and your rights and obligations as a small business owner.

Find out more about WHS in your state or territory:

Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

New South Wales (NSW)

Northern Territory (NT)

Queensland (Qld)

South Australia (SA)

Tasmania (Tas)

Victoria (Vic)

Western Australia (WA)