OHS harmonisation documents released for public comment

Late on 7 December 2010 Safe Work Australia released draft OHS regulations and Codes of Practice for public comment.  The documents released are:

According to a Safe Work Australia media release, not yet available online:

“As part of the development of the Consultation Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS), Access Economics on behalf of Safe Work Australia, is surveying businesses across a range of sizes, industries and regions in an effort to obtain data on anticipated compliance costs and safety benefits of the model Work Health and Safety Regulations.  The Consultation RIS will be released shortly after the commencement of the public comment period and will be used to inform the preparation of the Decision RIS.” [links added]

Access Economics is not unfamiliar with OHS economic assessments having completed a study on the cost of New Zealand’s workplace injuries in 2006.  That report stated that

“The investigation found that only 2% of the full costs of occupational disease and injury in New Zealand ($20.9 billion in 2004–05) are compensated.”

Even when premature death and suffering is removed from the calculation:

“… less than 10% of the financial costs of occupational disease and injury in New Zealand ($4.9 billion) are compensated ($480 million in 2004–05).”

This may be an important percentage to remember as Australia’s National OHS Strategy (due for a review in March 2011) is being measured from data of “compensated work-related injury and disease” according to the January 2010 progress report.

Perhaps it is time to address the total cost of workplace illnesses and injuries as a public health issue rather than a rarefied category of tight vested interests.

Kevin Jones

reservoir, victoria, australia

2 thoughts on “OHS harmonisation documents released for public comment”

  1. Very interesting, let the review period begin.
    No specific height stated for working at heights, no risk matrix in the code, extensive requirements for confined space with no reference to AS2865 (and the definition is slightly different I think), inclusion of diving, a reference to having a part on mining but \”to be circulated separately\”, what looks liek a farily streamline risk process in manual tasks…
    Also quite wordy in the way it is written coming from a Qld perspective (also at 500+ pages).

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