Harmonisation of OH&S regulations

Anon. (2007) Harmonisation of OH&S regulations. [Report]

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Policy instruments of education, regulation, fines and inspection have all been utilised by Australian jurisdictions as they attempt to improve the poor performance of occupational health and safety (OH&S) in the construction industry. However, such policy frameworks have been largely uncoordinated across Australia, resulting in differing policy systems, with differing requirements and compliance systems. Such complexity, particularly for construction firms operating across jurisdictional borders, led to various attempts to improve the consistency of OH&S regulation across Australia, four of which will be reviewed in this report. 1. The first is the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991 (Commonwealth) which enabled certain organisations to opt out of state based regulatory regimes. 2. The second is the development of national standards, codes of practice and guidance documents by the National Occupational Health and Safety Council (NOHSC). The intent was that the OHS requirements, principles and practices contained in these documents would be adopted by state and territory governments into their legislation and policy, thereby promoting regulatory consistency across Australia. 3. The third is the attachment of conditions to special purpose payments from the Commonwealth to the States, in the form of OH&S accreditation with the Office of the Federal Safety Commissioner. 4. The fourth is the development of national voluntary codes of OHS practice for the construction industry. It is interesting to note that the tempo of change has increased significantly since 2003, with the release of the findings of the Cole Royal Commission. This paper examines and evaluates each of these attempts to promote consistency across Australia. It concludes that while there is a high level of information sharing between jurisdictions, particularly from the NOSHC standards, a fragmented OH&S policy framework still remains in place across Australia. The utility of emergent industry initiatives such as voluntary codes and guidelines for safer construction practices to enhance consistency are discussed.

Additional Information

Item Type: Report
Collection: CRC for Construction Innovation
Keywords: CRC for Construction Innovation; Program A : Business and Industry Development; Project 2004-032-A : Construction Industry Business Environment (CIBE)
Date Deposited: 11 Mar 2014 03:14
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2014 03:20
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URI: https://digitalcollections.qut.edu.au//id/eprint/1746
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