Are Codes of Practice Law?

Many persons conducting or undertaking business are often asking Are Codes of Practice Law?

To have legal effect in a jurisdiction, a model Code of Practice must be approved as a code of practice there. To determine if a model Code of Practice has been approved in a particular jurisdiction, check with your local WHS regulator.

An approved code of practice applies to anyone who has a duty of care in the circumstances described in the Code. In most cases, following an approved Code of Practice would achieve compliance with the health and safety duties in a jurisdiction’s WHS Act and Regulations.

Like regulations, codes of practice deal with particular issues and do not cover all hazards or risks that may arise. Health and safety duties require you to consider all risks associated with work, not only those risks that regulations and codes of practice exist for.

While approved codes of practice are not law, they are admissible in court proceedings in every state and territory Australia Wide. Courts may regard an approved Code of Practice as evidence of what is known about a hazard, risk or control and may rely on the relevant Code to determine what is reasonably practicable in the circumstances.

Raise the topic "Are Codes of Practice Law?" at your next team meeting and discover the general undertanding of workplace compliance laws.

Some questions to ask your team:

What Codes of Practice apply to our business?

How often are Codes of Practice Updated?

How do we implement these into our safety system?

When did we last check the changes to relevant Codes of Practice?

Are our employees aware of the relevant codes of practice?


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