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Health & Safety Harmonised Model : New work health and safety laws commenced in New South Wales, Queensland, the Australian Capital Territory, the Commonwealth and the Northern Territory on 1 January 2012.

In July 2008, the Council of Australia Governments formally committed to the harmonisation of work health and safety laws by signing an Intergovernmental Agreement for Regulatory and Operational Reform in Occupational Health and Safety (IGA).

The model work health and safety legislation consists of an integrated package of a model Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act, supported by model Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulations, model Codes of Practice and a National Compliance and Enforcement Policy.

Safe Work Australia is the national policy body responsible for the development and evaluation of the model Work Health and Safety laws. The Commonwealth, states and territories are responsible for regulating and enforcing work health and safety laws in their jurisdictions.

Under the IGA, all jurisdictions have committed to adopting the model work health and safety legislation, with minor variations as necessary to ensure it is consistent with relevant drafting protocols and to achieve consistency with other laws and processes operating within the jurisdiction.

Click on the following link for each jurisdiction’s progress in implementing the new laws. Where a jurisdiction has already enacted the WHS Act and the WHS Regulations the links provided will take you to these documents.

Jurisdictional progress on the model work health and safety laws


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Forklift Traffic Management
Companies should develop and implement forklift traffic management plans in order to keep drivers and pedestrians safe and physically separated, so far as reasonably practicable. The Traffic Management plan should include:

  • risk controls,
  • efficient travel routes,
  • use pedestrian and forklift exclusion zones,
  • safety zones for truck drivers,
  • safety barriers,
  • floor markings,
  • containment fences and speed limiting devices and signs.
  • where practicable; the possibility of substituting forklifts with other suitable load shifting equipment.
Forklifts causes more workplace deaths and injuries than any other plant and equipment. More than half the people killed in forklift-related incidents in the last 10 years have been pedestrians. Even at low-speed forklifts can kill.


All stakeholders should be involved in the traffic management planning, and all personnel at the workplace, including contractors and visitors, must be advised about the workplace’s traffic management plan