About the review
Codes of practice explained
What is a code of practice?
Codes of practice detail safety information on specific work tasks to help you achieve the standards required under work health and safety laws.
Codes of practice have a special legal status and are automatically admissible as evidence in court proceedings under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act) and Regulations.
Courts can refer to a code as evidence of what is known about a hazard, risk or control. Courts may also rely on a specific code to determine what is reasonably practicable in circumstances relating to a particular industry work task.
A code of practice does not replace work health and safety laws but can be used to make it easier for you to understand what you have to do if you work in particular industries.
You can see the list and read all NSW codes of practice on our website.
Some common codes of practice terms explained
What is meant by reasonably practicable?
'Reasonably practicable' is a term used in work health and safety legislation. This means that a duty-holder must meet the standard of behaviour expected of a reasonable person in the duty-holder's position, and who is required to comply with the same duty.
What is a PCBU?
A ‘person conducting a business or undertaking’ (PCBU) is a broad term used throughout work health and safety legislation to describe all forms of modern working arrangements.
Technology, working environment and day to day work practices
SafeWork NSW wants to know if any changes in technology since the release of the code of practice has affected the way that you use it to support work health and safety that should be considered in the code of practice.
Examples of the types of technology that your industry may use are drones, computer simulations, apps, artificial intelligence, proximity radars, geo-location tools, vaccinations.
SafeWork NSW wants to know if any changes to the working environment since the release of the code of practice has affected the way that you use it to support work health and safety that should be considered in the code of practice.
We define the working environment as the setting, physical conditions and psychological influences in which a person performs their work. The working environment involves factors that can impact a worker’s health and safety, e.g., exposure to chemical substances, extreme noise levels, hazardous manual tasks, poor air quality (indoors and outdoors), extreme weather and environmental conditions, biological hazards, stress, fatigue.
Day-to-day work practices
SafeWork NSW wants to know if any changes to processes, protocols and guidance since the release of the code of practice has affected the way that you use it to mitigate risk, reduce injury and illness, in your day-to-day work work health and safety practices that should be considered in the code of practice.
About the codes of practice review
- Consultation will be on the NSW Government Have Your Say via a survey or written submission and will be open for at least 21 days for each code of practice. There will be promotion via direct emails, the SafeWork NSW website and other means.
- At the conclusion of the consultation, SafeWork NSW will compile an analysis report of the feedback.
- SafeWork NSW will form an Industry and Social Partners Working Group comprising of internal and external stakeholders for each code and use the analysis report as part of the review.
- The Industry and Social Partners Working Group will decide whether the current code should be updated or is no longer relevant to industry needs.
- The Industry and Social Partners Working Group will update and draft a revised code of practice for public consultation (similar to step 1) to seek feedback on the draft.
- Industry and Social Partners will consider feedback from public consultation, before proceeding with formal approval of the code.
What are the steps in the review?
For each code of practice to be reviewed, SafeWork NSW will undertake the following steps:
Step 1: External consultation to seek feedback on the existing code of practice
Step 2: Feedback from the consultation
Step 3: Industry and Social Partners Working Group
Step 4(a): Update an existing code of practice
Step 4(b): Code no longer relevant to industry needs
SafeWork NSW will publicly announce the outcome of the codes no longer relevant to industry needs.
Step 5: Ministerial approval to formalise code of practice
Before announcements are made on whether a code of practice is to be updated, or is no longer relevant to industry, Ministerial approval will be sought (as required by law).
Who can participate?
SafeWork NSW wants to hear from a wide range of stakeholders who may use or refer to the code of practice or who are interested in the work health and safety of workers performing tasks that the code of practice covers. This may include workers, employers, person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs), associations, unions and government agencies.
SafeWork NSW would like to understand how the existing codes of practice are being used and referred to and if the code provides ways of achieving the required work health and safety outcomes. If not, tell us what other information you use or refer to.
You can respond to the survey or provide a submission.
How will my feedback make a difference?
Your feedback will ensure that the codes of practice are fit-for-purpose and make a meaningful difference in the industry it serves.
Once the public consultation has closed, SafeWork NSW will review all of the feedback and consider next steps.
We will publish the outcomes of consultation on the consultation home page, outlining the feedback received and explaining the rationale for any key changes from the proposals.
How do I stay informed about one, or more of the codes of practice under review?
Sign up to be kept informed about one or more of codes of practice and we will email you when they become available for feedback and comment.