Safe Work Australia has released answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ) to clarify whether and if so how the new work health and safety (WHS) laws apply to strata title bodies corporate.
The new harmonised WHS laws have already been implemented in New South Wales, Queensland, the Australian Capital Territory, the Northern Territory and Commonwealth jurisdictions since 1 January 2012 and will take effect in Tasmania from 1 January 2013.
According to Safe Work Australia, there is a misconception that the WHS laws apply in relation to wholly residential units if a maintenance person, gardener or plumber is engaged to carry out odd jobs at the complex. There is also a misconception that volunteer committee members of strata title bodies corporate can be prosecuted as ‘officers’ for breaches under the new WHS laws.
Below are the facts about how the new work health and safety (WHS) laws apply to strata title bodies corporate:
- The WHS laws do not apply to strata title bodies corporate responsible for wholly residential complexes unless they are also employers
- Strata title bodies corporate that are employers are covered by the WHS in the same way as any other employers
- The WHS laws apply to strata title bodies corporate that are responsible for commercial premises (for example a cafe or restaurant) in the same way as any other business, and
- Volunteer committee members cannot be prosecuted under the new WHS laws as officers.
Obligations under the WHS laws will not change the obligations that already apply under general law and strata management laws.
For more information, visit the Safe Work Australia website.