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This Code of Practice on how to manage the risks associated with excavation work is an approved code of practice under section 274 of the Work Health and Safety Act (the WHS Act).
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An approved code of practice provides practical guidance on how to achieve the standards of work health and safety required under the WHS Act and the Work Health and Safety Regulations (the WHS Regulations) and effective ways to identify and manage risks.
A code of practice can assist anyone who has a duty of care in the circumstances described in the code of practice. Following an approved code of practice will assist the duty holder to achieve compliance with the health and safety duties in the WHS Act and WHS Regulations, in relation to the subject matter of the code of practice. Like regulations, codes of practice deal with particular issues and may not cover all relevant hazards or risks. The health and safety duties require duty holders to consider all risks associated with work, not only those for which regulations and codes of practice exist.
Codes of practice are admissible in court proceedings under the WHS Act and WHS Regulations. Courts may regard a code of practice as evidence of what is known about a hazard, risk, risk assessment or risk control and may rely on the code in determining what is reasonably practicable in the circumstances to which the code of practice relates. For further information see the Interpretive Guideline: Interpretive Guideline: The meaning of ‘reasonably practicable’.
Compliance with the WHS Act and WHS Regulations may be achieved by following another method, if it provides an equivalent or higher standard of work health and safety than the code.
An inspector may refer to an approved code of practice when issuing an improvement or prohibition notice.
Scope and application
This Code is intended to be read by a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU). It provides practical guidance to PCBUs on how to manage health and safety risks associated with excavation work.
The guidance in this Code is relevant to excavation contractors as well as PCBUs who have management or control of workplaces where excavation work is carried out, for example principal contractors.
This Code may be a useful reference for other persons interested in the duties under the WHS Act and WHS Regulations.
This Code applies to all workplaces covered by the WHS Act where excavation work is carried out and where excavation work products and equipment are used and stored.
Jiuta Baleisolomone – August 19, 2021
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