Australian businesses will benefit from new national health and safety regulations despite the extra expenses incurred, according to Safe Work Australia, which says the new regulations will deliver annual productivity improvements of between A$1.5 billion and A$2 billion over the next 10 years.

It is estimated small businesses and single-state firms will face total extra annual costs of A$27 million – equivalent to A$3.27 per worker per year – but the ‘net benefit to society’ will be measured at A$21.48 a worker, or about A$250 million a year before any productivity gains are included.

The new regulations include having trained First Aiders and first aid access even for small companies with fewer than 25 employees. Other rules cover evacuation plans and residual-current devices to be installed in ‘hostile operating environments’.

The Business Council of Australia has called on state and territory governments to implement the national so-called ‘harmonised’ framework by January 1, as agreed by the Council of Australian Governments….