The effectiveness of model work health and safety laws

workman_Attribute to Katy Silberger on flickr

Project leader(s)

Funding agency

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:

  1. 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;

  2. how WHS regulators support compliance, undertake inspections and enforce the WHS Acts and regulations;

  3. the effectiveness of approved codes of practice and guidance/advisory material in providing practical guidance to support compliance with the WHS laws;

  4. the application of risk-based principles in regulatory design, administration, inspection and enforcement, and the strengths and weaknesses of this approach in WHS regulation;

  5. the use and effectiveness of documentation standards (safe work method statements (SWMS) and WHS management plans in construction work; and

  6. 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.

Liz Bluff

Dr Liz Bluff

Dr Liz Bluff is a Visiting Fellow with RegNet. She has worked in the field of work health and safety for thirty-five years in positions spanning regulatory research, postgraduate education,...

Mr Xiaojun Chen

Thesis topic: Regulation and Business Behaviour: An Empirical Study in China

Professor Neil Gunningham

Neil Gunningham has degrees in law and criminology from Sheffield University, UK, is a Barrister and Solicitor (ACT) and holds a PhD from...

Ms Mary Ivec

Mary holds post graduate degrees in social policy, social work and counselling having completed her Bachelor of Arts (Sociology and Politics) at the ANU. Mary has thirty...

Richard Johnstone

Professor Richard Johnstone

Richard Johnstone was the foundation Director of the National Research Centre for OHS Regulation (NRCOHSR), in the Regulatory Institutions...

 Society, safety and health cluster hero

Society, safety and health

The Society, Safety and Health cluster has three broad regulatory and governance–related research themes: 1) the social determinants of health and health inequities, including trade, food systems, climate change, and urban planning; 2) work health and safety (WHS), embracing WHS management and

Updated:  12 February 2016/Responsible Officer:  Director, RegNet/Page Contact:  Director, RegNet