Research into Australia’s harmonised work health and safety (WHS) laws
With funding from Safe Work Australia, NRCOHSR researchers are conducting an integrated series of research projects examining the implementation and impact of Australia’s harmonised work health and safety (WHS) laws.
The projects are examining:
how the courts are interpreting the WHS laws, and how they are using fines and non-pecuniary sanctions in sentencing those found to be in breach of the laws;
how WHS regulators support compliance, undertake inspections and enforce the WHS Acts and regulations;
the effectiveness of approved codes of practice and guidance/advisory material in providing practical guidance to support compliance with the WHS laws;
the application of risk-based principles in regulatory design, administration, inspection and enforcement, and the strengths and weaknesses of this approach in WHS regulation;
the use and effectiveness of documentation standards (safe work method statements (SWMS) and WHS management plans in construction work; and
national and international regulatory and advisory frameworks for managing psychosocial risks such as stressors, violence, bullying and harassment at work.
The findings from the research projects will enhance understanding of the efficacy of the harmonised WHS laws, and inform recommendations relating to WHS regulatory design and implementation.