Significant safety reforms have passed parliament in South Australia. 

Changes to South Australia's work health and safety (WHS) system are set to become law following the passage of the Work Health and Safety (Review Recommendations) Amendment Bill 2024 in State Parliament. 

The Amendment Bill introduces several reforms. 

It codifies the SafeWork SA Advisory Committee, a body comprising a broad cross-section of stakeholders. This committee will provide advice to SafeWork SA and the Government on ways to improve work health and safety.

Additionally, the Bill reforms confidentiality rules to allow SafeWork SA to share more information with certain parties. 

This change will enable SafeWork SA to provide family members who have lost a loved one to a workplace incident with a greater understanding of the circumstances surrounding the fatality and more detailed explanations of the actions taken during investigations.

The Bill also grants the South Australian Employment Tribunal (SAET) an expanded role in resolving workplace disputes related to health and safety issues. 

This change mirrors similar amendments made to Queensland’s WHS laws in 2017, which have operated for nearly seven years.

These reforms follow 18 months of extensive consultation between the Government and various stakeholders, including industry associations, trade unions, and representatives of victims and their families.

SafeWork SA Executive Director Glenn Farrell has highlighted the significance of the changes to confidentiality rules.

“Our ability to share more information is a huge step forward and will allow us to provide families with a greater understanding of the circumstances of a fatal incident and to explain in more detail the actions we took during our investigations,” he said. 

“Other parties will also be able to seek additional information to enable us to better fulfil our functions as a regulatory authority.”