A number of improvements to the OHS Accreditation Scheme are due to come into force next year, as efforts are made to streamline health and safety practices. The Department of Employment carried out a review of the scheme over the past few months and discovered that a number of changes need to be made.
The Office of the Federal Safety Commissioner (OFSC) has therefore outlined various amendments that will come into force from January 1 2015.
It identified that the current scheme needs to be amended in order to eliminate duplication and improve consistency. There was also concern that it was not as accessible as it could be and that better risk-based approaches would be necessary to make policies more effective.
Among the changes will be a more streamlined application process, as the OFSC alters how it administers the scheme. Clearer guidance will be issued to companies on what they need to do to achieve accreditation and make preparations for being audited.
It is possible that an online application process will be brought into force in April next year, which will make the procedure even easier for the nation's builders.
Further to this, the decision has been made to eliminate certification to Australian Standard AS4801. Previously, building and construction companies who wanted to secure accreditation under the scheme needed to meet this criteria.
Unaccredited builders will be given the opportunity to carry out building work as a head contractor funded by the Commonwealth, providing they are part of a joint venture with a company that is accredited. They will also need to operate under the partner's scheme accredited systems.
No matter whether builders are using skid steer loaders, constructing properties or involved with cable hauling, following the strictest health and safety standards is essential at all times. These latest changes should help ensure the industry continues to comply with regulations, without the burden of excessive red tape.