Enforcing upstream: Australian health and safety inspectors and upstream duty holders

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Journal article

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The ‘new style’ occupational health and safety legislation implemented in Australia from the late 1970s changed the character of OHS legal obligations, establishing general duties supported by process, performance and, more rarely, specification standards,1 and extending obligations to those who propagate risks as designers, manufacturers, importers or suppliers — the ‘upstream duty holders’. This article examines how OHS agencies inspect and enforce OHS legislation upstream, drawing on empirical research in four Australian states and relevant case law. We argue that upstream duty holders are an increasing area of attention for OHS inspectorates but these inspectorates have not yet risen to the challenge of harnessing these parties to help stem, at the source, the flow of risks into workplaces.  

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Bluff, 2012, 'Enforcing upstream: Australian health and safety inspectors and upstream duty holders', Australian Journal of Labour Law, 25, 1, 23-42

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