by Brad Geinitz, Chief Advisor Occupational Health & Hygiene, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland
In August 2021, as part of the review of the Workplace Exposure Standards for 700 chemicals, Safe Work Australia proposed new lower limits for hydrogen sulphide and chlorine. These new limits have the potential to result in significant costs for water businesses. There has been a call from the urban water sector for a regulatory impact assessment (RIA) to be undertaken ahead of any change to the limits due to the concern from the industry around the cost to water businesses to implement new practices, and the proposed timeline for compliance with those limits. An RIA, if undertaken, is the responsibility of state WHS ministers: in Queensland this falls under the purview of Minister for Industrial Relations, Grace Grace.
qldwater organised an information session with Brad Geinitz from Workplace Health and Safety Queensland on what compliance to WES standards looks like, and what information can be gathered by water utilities right now to understand their existing risk. This information will be very important if an RIA is undertaken in Queensland.