Harmonisation of OH&S regulations

CRC Construction Innovation (2007) Harmonisation of OH&S regulations. CRC for Construction Innovation, Brisbane.


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.

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ID Code: 26970
Item Type: Report
Refereed: No
Keywords: CRC for Construction Innovation, Program A : Business and Industry Development, Project 2004-032-A : Construction Industry Business Environment (CIBE)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > CRC Construction Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2007 Icon.Net Pty Ltd
Copyright Statement: The Participants of the CRC for Construction Innovation have delegated authority to the CEO of the CRC to give Participants permission to publish material created by the CRC for Construction Innovation. This delegation is contained in Clause 30 of the Agreement for the Establishment and Operation of the Cooperative Research Centre for Construction Innovation. The CEO of the CRC for Construction Innovation gives permission to the Queensland University of Technology to publish the papers/publications provided in the collection in QUT ePrints provided that the publications are published in full. Icon.Net Pty Ltd retains copyright to the publications. Any other usage is prohibited without the express permission of the CEO of the CRC. The CRC warrants that Icon.Net Pty Ltd holds copyright to all papers/reports/publications produced by the CRC for Construction Innovation.
Deposited On: 24 Aug 2009 22:40
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 13:58

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