Liaising with other countries or international organisations on matters relating to work health and safety and workers’ compensation is one of the key functions for Safe Work Australia (Safe Work Australia Act 2008).
Safe Work Australia participates in a range of international activities that create both benefits and obligations.
Safe Work Australia international activities include:
- Working with international organisations on work health and safety and workers’ compensation improvements
- Responding to requests for participation in research and other activities by international work health and safety organisations such as the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO)
- Hosting international delegations interested in learning about the Australian work health and safety and workers’ compensation systems
- Participating in international conferences and meetings about work health and safety and workers’ compensation
- Contributing to reports as required by various international conventions. These reports are an assessment of how Australia meets its work health and safety obligations.
Some of the international organisations and programs with which Safe Work Australia is involved include:
International Labour Organization (ILO)
The ILO has a Program on Safety and Health at Work and the Environment (SafeWork). The International Occupational Safety and Health Information Centre (ILO-CIS) creates and compiles health and safety information and ensures worldwide access to it. Safe Work Australia contributes to the work of ILO-CIS as a member of the international network of ILO-CIS centres.
Safe Work Australia provides advice to the Commonwealth Department of Employment on work health and safety aspects of ILO conventions and protocols.
United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)
The Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) is an internationally agreed system of classification and hazard communication for chemicals. Safe Work Australia is the lead agency for GHS implementation in Australia, and provides the head of the Australian delegation on the UNSCEGHS. As the head of the Australian delegation at UNSCEGHS meetings, Safe Work Australia's role is to provide the agreed Australian government position on chemicals issues for all agencies responsible for chemicals management in Australia.
The UNSCETDG aims to implement an internationally agreed system for the labelling, packaging and transportation of dangerous goods, through the development of the UN’s Model Regulations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods. Australia’s dangerous goods transport requirements align with the UN’s Model Regulations. Safe Work Australia provides representation on the Explosives Working Group of this committee, providing the agreed Australian position on explosives matters.
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
Safe Work Australia contributes to activities relevant to the OECD’s Environment, Health and Safety.
Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC)
The Chemical Dialogue is one of APEC’s initiatives to promote economic growth, co-operation, trade and investment across many industries. Safe Work Australia provides advice to the APEC Chemical Dialogue through the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education usually in relation to compliance with GHS requirements in regards to workplace training, classification and labelling.
International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
Safe Work Australia participates in the ISO’s Nanotechnology Technical Committee (TC 229) through the Standards Australia Nanotechnology Committee (NT-001).
The Cochrane Collaboration in Occupational Health Field
In 2012 Safe Work Australia became a member of the Advisory Board for the Cochrane Collaboration in Occupational Health Field.
The World Congress on Safety and Health at Work
This conference is one of the major international work health and safety conferences. It is jointly organized every three years by the ILO and the International Social Security Association (ISSA). Safe Work Australia participated in the last World Congress in Turkey in 2011. The next World Congress will be held in 2014 in Germany.