Late in 2009 the Australian Workplace Relations Ministers’ Council endorsed a model Work Health and Safety Bill 2009 which is to be adopted by all Australian governments (Commonwealth, State and Territory) from 1 January 2012. This article describes and analyses two key sets of provisions in this model legislation. The first establish a ‘primary’ duty of care imposed not on ‘employers’ but on persons conducting a business or undertaking, and owed to all kinds of workers engaged, directed or influenced by the person conducting the business or undertaking. The second encompass broad duties on all persons conducting a business or undertaking to consult with workers who carry out work for the business or undertaking and who are directly affected by a work health and safety issue, and to facilitate the election of health and safety representatives representing all workers who carry out work for the business or undertaking. These provisions arguably make a significant contribution to solving a problem faced by occupational health and safety regulators around the world - modifying occupational health and safety regulation to accommodate all forms of precarious work.
Johnstone, Richard, 2011,_ WP 82 - Dismantling worker categories: The primary duty of care and worker consultation, participation and representation in the Model Work Health and Safety Bill 2009_, National Research Centre for OHS Regulation, Canberra