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Work, health and safety

Industry Commission inquiry report

The Industry Commission inquiry report, Work, Health and Safety, was signed on 11 September 1995 and subsequently released by the Commonwealth Government in two volumes, Volume 1: Report and Volume 2: Appendices.

The report contains the findings of the Industry Commission public inquiry on the strategies which should be undertaken or continue to achieve optimal outcomes in preventing occupational injury, illness and disease for the next decade.

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  • Contents

Volume 1

Cover, Copyright, Signing Page, Terms of Reference, Contents, Abbreviations, Overview

1 The Inquiry
1.1 Inquiry scope
1.2 Inquiry procedures
1.3 Commission's approach
1.4 Structure of the report

2 Health and Safety at Work
2.1 Information sources
2.2 Incidence of injury and disease
2.3 Cost of injury and disease at work
2.4 Causes of injury and disease at work
2.5 Best practice in prevention

3 Health and Safety Regulation
3.1 Existing legislation
3.2 Progress in streamlining regulation
3.3 Problems with regulation
3.4 Proposed reforms

4 A New Enabling Statute
4.1 The duty of care
4.2 Specific obligations of employers
4.3 Other rights and obligations
4.4 Employee participation in workplaces

5 Mandated Safety Requirements
5.1 Principles for standard setting and regulation
5.2 Review of legislation

6 Voluntary Standards and Codes of Practice
6.1 Enterprise safety management systems
6.2 Industry-based codes of practice

7 Enforcement
7.1 Existing approach
7.2 Commission's assessment
7.3 Proposed reforms
7.4 Goals of enforcement
7.5 Criminal justice system
7.6 Sanctions in OHS law

8 Administration of Enforcement
8.1 Transparency in enforcement
8.2 Functions of inspectorates
8.3 Targeting inspection
8.4 Application of sanctions
8.5 Resourcing the inspectorates

9 Consistency in Health and Safety Protection
9.1 Issues in greater consistency
9.2 Inconsistency between jurisdictions
9.3 Inconsistency within jurisdictions
9.4 International Labour Organisation Convention No. 155
9.5 Inconsistency due to industrial relations legislation

10 Financial Incentives for Prevention
10.1 Workers' compensation
10.2 Funding of government agencies and programs
10.3 Government purchasing
10.4 Company reporting

11 National Institutions
11.1 Current national arrangements
11.2 Concerns with current arrangements
11.3 Reform of the national institutions

12 National Research
12.1 Existing arrangements for research
12.2 Problems with existing arrangements
12.3 Reform of research arrangements
12.4 National information requirements

13 Chemical Assessment
13.1 National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme
13.2 Other assessment schemes

14 Administering Agencies
14.1 Current arrangements
14.2 Agency performance and accountability
14.3 Funding of OHS activities
14.4 Integrating OHS, workers' compensation and rehabilitation
14.5 Inspectorates

15 Co-ordination of OHS and Other Related Policies
15.1 Case for better co-ordination
15.2 Co-ordination of functions
15.3 Reform of legislative approaches

16 Information, Training and Education
16.1 Government information programs
16.2 Training
16.3 Education

17 Economic, Social and Environment Gains from Reform
17.1 Economic gains from improved performance
17.2 Social impact of reforms
17.3 Environmental impact of reforms
17.4 Export opportunities


Cover, Copyright, Contents

A Institutional Arrangements
A.1 State and Territory jurisdictions
A.2 Commonwealth jurisdiction
Attachment A1 International assistance activities

B Level and Cause of Workplace Injury and Disease
B.1 Sources of information
B.2 Workplace fatalities
B.3 Workplace injury and disease
B.4 Causality
Attachment B1 Household survey
Attachment B2 Supplementary tables

C Cost of Workplace Injury and Disease
C.1 Commission's approach
C.2 Main findings
C.3 Distribution of the costs between employers, workers and the community
C.4 Cost of work-related injury and disease by state
C.5 Cost to government budgets of work-related injury and disease
C.6 Breakdown of costs incurred by employers
Attachment C1 Identification and distribution of indirect costs for each severity category
Attachment C2 Definitions, method of estimation and assumptions
Attachment C3 Typical cost estimates for each severity category
Attachment C4 Inputs derived in the process of estimating the typical costs
Attachment C5 Most prevalent and most expensive work-related injuries and diseases

D Compliance Costs
D.1 Prevention costs
D.2 Compliance costs
D.3 Current data
D.4 Costs of requirements that prescribe inputs and outputs
D.5 Policy implications

E Regulation Formation and Benefit and Cost Comparisons
E.1 Current regulatory assessment practices
E.2 The contribution of benefit and cost analysis to the development of OHS regulation
E.3 A model for developing OHS regulation
E.4 Benefit-cost and cost-effectiveness analysis
E.5 Application of the four steps to a proposed noise standard

F Best Practice
F.1 Defining OHS best practice
F.2 Examining OHS best practice
F.3 Best practice and OHS best practice
F.4 Economic significance of OHS best practice
F.5 Conclusion
Attachment F1 A preliminary study of OHS practice and performance at the enterprise level

G Overseas Regulatory Approaches
G.1 Division of responsibilities
G.2 Legal responsibilities
G.3 Coverage
G.4 Co-regulation
G.5 Harmonisation of standards
G.6 Enforcement powers
Attachment G1 Summary of arrangements

H National Uniformity
H.1 Background to national uniformity
H.2 Standards development process
H.3 Progress in adopting national standards
H.4 Other approaches to national uniformity
H.5 Commonwealth powers to make OHS legislation
Attachment H1 National uniformity taskforce priority standards
Attachment H2 Adoption of national standards
Attachment H3 Incorporation of priority national standards in legislation
Attachment H4 ILO Convention

I Legislative Approaches
I.1 Approaches to OHS legislation in Australia
I.2 Commonwealth
I.3 New South Wales
I.4 Victoria
I.5 Queensland
I.6 Western Australia
I.7 South Australia
I.8 Tasmania
I.9 Australian Capital Territory
I.10 Northern Territory

J Workers' Compensation
J.1 Current arrangements
J.2 Workers' compensation and prevention
Attachment J1 Premium setting methods

K Economics of Workplace Health and Safety
K.1 Nature of risk and trade-offs
K.2 Nature of safety
K.3 Safety measures
K.4 Optimal level of workplace safety
K.5 Economic case for intervention
K.6 Policies to improve workplace health and safety
Attachment K1 Choices under uncertainty

L Effective Regulation
L.1 General principles for effective regulation
L.2 Assessing regulatory processes
L.3 Objectives of OHS regulation
L.4 The Robens Committee report
L.5 Duty of care
L.6 Employee representation
L.7 'Self-regulation'
L.8 Australian Standards

M Enforcement and Penalties
M.1 Existing arrangements
M.2 Patterns of enforcement
M.3 The impact of enforcement
M.4 Alternative approaches
M.5 Improving enforcement
Attachment M1 Principles and concepts in enforcement
Attachment M2 Patterns of enforcement

N Chemicals in the Workplace
N.1 Existing supervision
N.2 Hazardous substances
N.3 Dangerous goods
N.4 Major hazards
N.5 National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme
N.6 Information about chemicals
Attachment N1 Asbestos related disease

O Awareness, Training and Education
O.1 Information
O.2 Training
O.3 Educating health and safety professionals

P Agency Accountability
P.1 State and Territory jurisdictions
P.2 Commonwealth jurisdiction

Q Enterprise Agreements, Awards and Workforce Representation
Q.1 Existing health and safety provisions in enterprise agreements
Q.2 Effectiveness of enterprise agreements and awards
Q.3 Employee participation

R Economy-wide Impacts of Workplace Injury and Disease
R.1 Labour market effects
R.2 Resource allocations and the demand for medical services
R.3 Health as a resource loss
R.4 Economy-wide gains of reducing the level of work-related injury and disease

S Research and Information Systems
S.1 Research
S.2 Statistics
Attachment S1 Existing research arrangements

T Inquiry Details
Attachment T1 Visits and discussions
Attachment T2 Information request questionnaire
Attachment T3 Consultant briefs
Attachment T4 Inquiry participants


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