- Ensure their workplace has a safe system of work to manage the risks of using hazardous chemicals
- Conduct a stocktake of chemicals at their workplace and dispose of the ones that are out of date or no longer used; and
- Ask their supplier for updated SDSs for the chemicals they use
After 30 June 2017, PCBUs should only buy chemicals that are classified and labelled according to the GHS requirements.
However, existing chemicals at a workplace do not have to be disposed of or relabelled and can continue to be used until they are finished. But any replacement product must meet the GHS requirements.
Suppliers and retailers should not accept product that was manufactured after 31 December 2016 that does not comply with GHS labelling requirements.
The Northern Territory Government has put in place three exemptions to ensure hazardous chemical products currently in the supply chain can continue to be sold and used. For the first six months of 2017, it is business as usual, however, PCBU’s should:
- Mediators may recommend the workers receive legal advice paid for by the employer, costing up to 1 week’s average ordinary time earnings in the NT (currently $1,417.20)
- Employers must pay reasonable expenses for family counselling – this could total up to 1.5 times NT average weekly earnings (i.e. currently $2,125.80)
- Employers must pay reasonable medical and rehabilitation costs while the employee is off work, except for hospital costs and costs of interstate evaluations
- Employers can claim reasonable management action as a defence to a mental stress claim
- Employers must provide formal notices of any pending cancellation of workers’ compensation at least 14 days in advance
- After a worker has been receiving compensation for at least 104 weeks, the claim can be finalised by a lump-sum payment through a negotiated settlement
- For any disputed claims, settlement will involve mandatory independent legal and financial advice funded by the employer, and will not be binding until at least 6 months has elapsed
- Journey claims are excluded from worker’s compensation, unless there is a sufficient connection with work
- Employers can be ordered to stop work until they have obtained the necessary worker’s compensation insurance policy
- Mediators can consent to an advocate who is not a legal representative representing the worker during medication
- Employers must produce a return to work plan developed in consultation with the work for any incapacity lasting more than 28 days; and
- Employers will not be able to dismiss a worker until at least 6 months after an injury, except in the case of serious or wilful misconduct
The Return to Work Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 has been passed by the Northern Territory Government. It amends the previous Workers’ Rehabilitation and Compensation Act
(now called the Return to Work Act) in the following ways: