History of Australian Work Health Safety Laws

Paragraph 1: Describe the history of WHS, from ancient times through to the early UK and Australian history. Notes: Code of Hammurabi Georgius Agricola Paracelsus Bernardino Ramazzini

Paragraph 2: Include the various historical events, landmark cases and other factors that have influenced the development of the current WHS laws. Notes: ‘Law’ Acts (duties, powers and enforcement mechanisms)- Regulations (specific hazards, prescribed obligations Codes of practice- Guidance materials (advice and recommendations on how to meet legislative duties) Edwards v National Coal Board (1949)- origins of ‘reasonably practicable’ -risk, sacrifice involved in measures to avert risk (money, time etc.) Robens Report (Lord Alfred Robens ) 1972 – Report of the Committee on Safety and Health at Work – giving major interest groups a say in development of OH&S provisions -arose after a significant mining accident at the time in England -type of model still seen today -Aus made changes following this, however states and territories still separate WA (Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984) Safety in WA workplaces regulated by this act (OSH Act) also he Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996 (the OSH regulations) supported by codes of practice and guidance notes (WorkSafe, 2018) http://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/worksafe/about-occupational-safety-and-health-act-1984) Commonwealth Work Health & Safety Act 2011 Council of Australian Governments (CoAG) signed Intergovernmental Agreement for Regulatory and Operational Reform in Occupational Health and Safety in order to harmonise WHS laws in Aus- July 2008. This was recommended for flow between business and workers over states. 2012 saw NSW, QLD, ACT, NT and the commonwealth adopting the regulatons. WA yet to do so- expected mid-2019. Paragraph 3: Describe the harmonisation of Australia’s WHS laws, including any latest developments. Notes: Each jurisdiction had its own WHS laws, meaning there were inconsistencies The 2007 Federal election saw harmonisation of the laws to create a national regulatory system (Richardson, 2014) The Safe Work Australia Act 2008 (example of harmonisation of Aus WHS Laws)

 

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