Your preferred office location:
  1. Home
  2. /
  3. Author
  4. /
  5. Kimberly Jones
  6. /
  7. Workplace Health and Safety Act (2020) commenced on 31 March 2022 – New obligations in agribusiness
26 Apr 2022

Special Counsel, Matthew Lilly, and Lawyer, Kimberly Jones, in our Agribusiness team discuss the Workplace Health and Safety Act (2020) and the new obligations in agribusiness.

The Work Health and Safety Act 2020 (WA) (Act) commenced on 31 March 2022, following the publication of 3 sets of regulations under the Act.  The new laws provide a framework to protect the health, safety, and welfare of workers in WA workplaces, including farms, and of other people who might be affected by the work.

Agriculture is a high-risk environment, with a higher mortality rate (than most industries) and so compliance in the industry is key to ensuring the Act’s success.

It is crucial that farmers and agribusinesses understand their duties under the new laws, and have an approach in place to meet these duties. 

What do the Regulations Do?

Three sets of regulations were published, and the ‘General’ regulations will apply to all workplaces, including farms.  Although these regulations apply generally over all industries, there will be different obligations in different workplaces.  Some regulations are specific to equipment (the requirements for a roll-over protective structure on a tractor), and to the type of work (audiometric testing where a worker is using protective hearing equipment).

What do I need to know about my obligations generally?

This Act has been discussed extensively over the last few years.  You therefore will likely be aware that the Act:

  • Increases penalties for breaches, including the introduction of an industrial manslaughter offence (for which the penalty is $5,000,000 and/or 20 years’ imprisonment);
  • Expands the scope of people with duties under the Act (and multiple people may have the same duty);
  • Brings WA in line with most of Australia, by adopting the model Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) laws; and
  • Prohibits insurance against fines imposed.

It is important to appreciate that the primary duty of care, to provide a safe workplace, has not substantially changed.  Duty holders are required to ensure, so far as is practicable, that the workplace is without risk to the safety and health of any persons.

All businesses must have measures in place to eliminate or minimize the risks to health and safety in their workplace under the previous health and safety regime.  The measures should be reassessed on an ongoing basis, and now with the new laws in mind.

There are lots of resources available to assist businesses with compliance, but it’s easy to get stuck down a rabbit hole and overwhelmed by information.  DMIRS WorkSafe WA and Safework Australia are good starting points, with written and video resources, as well as mailing lists, to keep you informed. 

There are also several organisations specific to agriculture, such as Farmsafe Australia, that provide practical resources for compliance, such as safety guides for quad bikes, machinery, and stock handling. 

What do I do if an accident happens?

You must notify WorkSafe (by telephone or writing) as soon as you become aware of a death, serious injury or illness, or dangerous incident that arises out of the conduct of the business.  Records of this incident must also be maintained.

How should I be meeting my obligations?

When reviewing your workplace and duties, we suggest you consider the following:

  1. Undertaking a risk audit of your workplace (you cannot minimize or eliminate risk if you are not aware of the risks and hazards);
  2. Consulting with your employees about WHS (they may have a different perspective);
  3. Reviewing and updating your policies and procedures (and ensure these are available to your employees);
  4. Ensuring all employees are well trained (especially in areas of high risk, such as working with machinery and animals); and
  5. Keeping records (ensure that you can demonstrate that you have attended to all reasonable measures and have paperwork for all equipment).

You will then be able to determine if you require further advice about your obligations or risk management processes.  

If you would like HHG to assist with this process, please contact one of please contact our agribusiness lawyers on (08) 9322 1966 or email reception@hhg.com.au.

Featured on Mandurah Mail and Farm Weekly.

Related article: The New Work Health and Safety Regulations 

*This is general information only, and does not constitute specific legal advice. Please consult one of our experienced Legal Team for specific advice relevant to your situation.

Supporting Western Australians for more than 100 years

"Always fast and thorough service. Thank you"

Sitka Pil

"My circumstances at the time I made contact with HHG were dire following my argument being rejected by two no win no fee firms. Following my initial meeting with HHG's employment law team I was left feeling extremely positive by the response and concern shown by HHG in regards to their support of my argument along with their preparedness to pursue an outcome on my behalf.

I accept the fact that nobody really wins in these cases (mental health/ workplace) however the end result was what would be considered most favourable and far in excess of what would have been achieved had I not sought the advice from HHG.

I have no hesitation in recommending HHG to anyone caught up in the messy circumstances I found myself in at the time.

Great advice and five-star commitment to their client!!"

Nathan Lynch

"Thank you for such great assistance with the transaction of Flying Domestics on behalf of Lorna Good. It has been such a pleasure to work with the HHG Legal Group and I look forward to working with you in the future."

Jim Goodwin

"Simon Creek and his team were at all times empathic, professional and confident.  My matter needed to be addressed within a pressing time frame, and their availability at short notice and contact after hours was much appreciated.  It caused me considerable stress, but having such a thoroughly reliable and competent team to call on helped me to feel in control. Although I hope not to need their services again in future, I would be confident in doing so!"

Dr Lana Bell

"A good outcome is what we can expect.  A great outcome is a sign of a company which does the very best for their clients. A very big thank you to Daniel Morris for showing empathy towards my small and much needed legal action.

To HHG Legal Group, thank you for a great outcome.  I would recommend your company to anyone seeking legal services."

Jan Atkinson

"Your support this morning was amazingly kind, not to mention your totally reassuring competence, knowledge and wisdom that you used on my behalf.  It was extremely reassuring to have your knowledgeable support, and I particularly appreciated your real and obvious kindness to me. It means so much at a very difficult time. I'm so grateful to you."

Family Law Client

"Janene was very professional and we established a good rapport quickly. The subject of death and wills can be quite confronting to deal with, however, Janene's approach was soft and accommodating."

Lynette Livesey

"A big thank you to HHG for their professional service, continued support, and wide range of legal knowledge. Our clients have given us nothing but kind words regarding HHG Legal Group and so we have no hesitation in referring and recommending Simon Creek and HHG Legal Group for their outstanding services and legal expertise."

Nigel Plowman, Director at Mckinley Plowman & Associates

"Simon is a friendly and practical legal advisor. I have received great feedback from the clients I have referred to him and his team at HHG Legal Group."

Richard Beal, Director at BDO

"Over the last few years, I have been impressed by Simon’s legal ability, management skills, entrepreneurial spirit, personal integrity and people skills. He appears to be that rare breed of lawyer – both knowledgeable and commercial."

Michael Malone, Founder of iiNet

"Our family has been a client of HHG Legal Group over many years.  Business has included drawing up of wills for three generations and preparing of probate for my father in law. I would have no hesitation in recommending HHG Legal Group to anyone requiring such services."

Bernice Climie

"You should be congratulated for the manner in which your staff address clients and we found our dealings with your company, once again a very pleasant experience and we would like to truly thank you for your efforts."

Steve Harvey and Jane Powell

"HHG Legal were absolutely fantastic. Extremely responsive and brought calm to our chaotic family situation through their knowledge and caring attitude. Extremely professional from our very first contact with them and they expertly guided our family though the required legal process over almost a 12 month period."

Amanda Williamson

"Fantastic team! They really care about their client. Tim Colcutt is a 'go that extra mile' guy who gives his client his all. I can't recommend HHG and Tim enough."

Kerry Samson

"I had a fantastic lawyer in Matthew Lilly. He helped me out a great deal with good, sound advice in a friendly, professional manner. First class, thanks Matthew"

Graeme Hammond

"Marine Plant Systems has been working with HHG Legal Group for a few years now and they continually provide first-class service. Their professional advice has been invaluable to our company."

Carolin Grimm - Marine Plant Systems

"We were kept up to date at all times. Pricing was always updated over the time period so we remained "in budget". Personal access to someone whenever I had questions. All in all a great experience without too much fuss."

Rosslyn Tasker - COO Altusq Pty Ltd

"Good service you can count on."

Miles Lee

"HHG Legal Group has provided outstanding support as I have taken the journey of buying a business, their professionalism is beyond reproach. Their assistance throughout the Due Diligence process has been invaluable, I would fully recommend them."

Mark Armitage

"Very friendly and efficient service - what a pleasure working with Matthew."

Jacques Taylor

"I highly recommend Daniel from HHG Lawyer in Mandurah. When dealing with a complicated legal property matter recently I was extremely impressed by Daniel's honesty and integrity and the legal advice I received. I am very happy with the service from HHG Legal."

Tony Walker

"Lisa, thank you so much for representing me in court, honestly, I would not have had the outcome I got without you. Once again, Thank you so much."


"Matthew Lilly was excellent in processing our project. He achieved the excellent result that we required on our project.

We would give Matthew a 5 star rating.

We will definitely commission Matthew for any further projects if we have the need."


"I have had the pleasure of being represented by Ms Lisa Riley. Lisa helped me in December 2020 when I was charged. Lisa was extremely supportive, reassuring, and preserved with her investigation of the laws and was able to save me from a terrible outcome. Another incident occurred in August 2021 in which I sought Lisa’s help. Lisa preserved and was very patient with me. This only got resolved this year. When she advised me that she was leaving her old firm, I insisted that she remain my lawyer, as I had the utmost faith in her. Hence I moved over to HHG. Lisa took no shortcuts in my defence and continued to preserve for the toxicology report that ultimately saved me. She kept me up-to-date with the progress and provided support. Having someone as understanding as Lisa was a huge gift, to me and my family. You have gained a huge asset in Lisa joining your firm.

Thank you, Lisa, forever grateful for your work, and if ever needed, I will be sure to refer to you"


"We can highly recommend HHG Legal Group and particularly Mr Blair Campbell (Special Counsel / Dispute Resolution)

Blair worked with us as we navigated a very difficult third party dispute.

Blair’s expertise, wisdom, and the way he guided us in a very measured and calm manner gave us great encouragement and comfort. Blair helped us to focus on what we needed to and to trust the process.

Blair was always responsive to us, he always got back to us very promptly to answer our questions and to help us to step through some really hard days.

We are very grateful for Blair’s expertise and wisdom along with his empathy and care, this truly made the difference for us."

Wayne and Janice Belcher

Preferred office location:

Please select your nearest office location so we can show you the most relevant information.