Frequently asked questions
Code of practice explained
What is a code of practice?
Codes of practice detail safety and standards 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 allowed 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.
How does a code of practice fit into NSW work health and safety laws?
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.
What codes of practice are in force in NSW?
In August 2019, SafeWork NSW adopted 23 model codes of practice that were updated by Safe Work Australia and released during 2018. The updates to the codes of practice were of a technical and readability nature. A further 20 codes of practice were not reviewed at that time but are still in use. You can see the list and read all NSW codes of practice on our website.
What codes are being reviewed?
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.
What is the definition of an injured worker?
An injured worker is a person who is injured at work or becomes sick because of work.
What is meant by the scope of the code?
The scope refers to what and who is covered by the code of practice.
To find out what and who is covered, search for 'scope' in the table of contents of any SafeWork NSW code of practice.
About the review
- Code of Practice for the Amenity Tree Industry
- Code of Practice: Accommodation for Rural Agricultural Work
- Code of Practice for the Transport and Delivery of Cash-in-Transit Industry
- Code of Practice for the Collection of Domestic Waste
- Code of Practice for the Control of Work-related Exposure to Hepatitis and HIV (blood-borne) Viruses
- Code of Practice: Cutting and Drilling Concrete and other Masonry Products
- Code of Practice for Moving Plant on Construction Sites
- Code of Practice – Overhead Protective Structures
- Code of Practice for the Safe Handling of Timber Preservatives and Treated Timber 1991
- Code of Practice for the Safe use and Storage of Chemicals (including pesticides and herbicides) in Agriculture
- Code of Practice for the Safe use of Bulk Solids Containers and Flatbed Storage including Silos, Field Bins and Chaser Bins
- Code of Practice for the Safe use of Pesticides including Herbicides in Non-agricultural Workplaces
- Code of Practice for the Safe use of Synthetic Mineral Fibres 1993
- Safe Work on Roofs Part 1: Commercial and Industrial Buildings Code of Practice 2009
- Code of Practice: Safety Aspects in the Design of Bulk Solids Containers including Silos, Field Bins and Chaser Bins
- Code of Practice for Safety in Forest Harvesting Operations
- Code of Practice for the Sawmilling Industry 1997
- Code of Practice for Technical Guidance
- Code of Practice for Tunnels Under Construction
- Code of Practice – Work Near Overhead Power Lines
- 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.
Who is conducting the review?
SafeWork NSW is conducting the review of 20 pre-WHS legislation codes of practice on behalf of the NSW Government.
What codes are being reviewed?
Why are these codes of practice being reviewed?
There are 20 codes of practice that are to be reviewed. These codes of practice were developed under the previous occupational health and safety legislation. The codes are still in force and can be used as guidance, but they may not reflect current ways of working, or the intent of current work health and safety laws.
Who is invited to take part in the review?
The review is for people and stakeholders that have a vested interest in a particular code to manage work health and safety for their industry.
Public consultation on the NSW Government Have Your Say site will be open for at least 21 days for each code of practice.
There will be promotion on the SafeWork NSW website and other channels.
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).
How was the Industry and Social Partners working group formed?
SafeWork NSW has invited representatives from across various industries and unions to form the working group.
Who can participate in the public consultation?
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.
How can I be involved in the public consultation?
You can be involved by responding to the survey or providing a submission on the code of practice on the Have your Say website.
If you wish to provide your comments on more than one code, we have included space on each consultation page to upload a document submission.
Will my feedback make a difference?
Yes, once the public consultation has closed, SafeWork NSW will review all of the feedback and consider next steps.
Your feedback will ensure that the code of practice you have provided comment on is fit-for-purpose and make a meaningful difference in the industry it serves.
We also want to know if there are other resources you use for the tasks covered by the code of practice to achieve work health and safety outcomes.
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.
What happens after the public consultation closes?
A summary report of the results will be provided to the Industry and Social Partners Working Group for action. For detailed information on the process refer to: FAQs | What are the steps in the review?
How do I stay informed about one, or more of the codes of practice under review?
The are several ways to stay informed of the progress of this review.
• An option to provide an email is contained within any of the surveys you take part in, or submissions you upload so we can email you occasional updates.
• 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.
• Check back to the consultation page for a specific code:
• Sign up to SafeWork Wrap our monthly newsletter containing the latest health and safety news, general information and enforceable undertakings.