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Liability for overseas workers

Q: If a company is in a state that operates under the WHS Act and it sends its workers overseas, is it expected to comply with the WHS Act for these workers?

A: The WHS provisions do not apply to employees of private companies working overseas, as the laws do not have extraterritorial application (other than the Commonwealth WHS Act). Your business must comply with the applicable health and safety laws in those foreign jurisdictions.

However, your employees may still be entitled to workers’ compensation for any overseas work-related injury, or would be able to sue your business for negligence if an injury resulted from a failure of the common law duty of care that your business owes them.

Please note: The answer is correct at the time of publishing. Be aware that laws may change over time. Refer to Obligations and standards for current advice.

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