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One of our key functions—as set out in the Safe Work Australia Act 2008—is to liaise with other countries or international organisations on WHS and workers’ compensation matters.

International activities

Our international activities include:

  • Working with international organisations on WHS and WC improvements.
  • Responding to requests for participation in research and other activities by international WHS bodies such as the ILO and the WHO.
  • Hosting international delegations interested in learning about Australian WHS and WC systems.
  • Participating in international conferences and meetings about WHS and WC.
  • Sharing expertise and approaches to managing WHS and WC challenges. For example our Chief Executive Officer Michelle Baxter is a member of Singapore’s IAP.
  • Contributing to reports as required by various international associations.
  • Providing advice to the Commonwealth Department of Employment on WHS aspects of ILO conventions and protocols.

International organisations

Some of the international organisations and programs we are involved in are listed below.

International Labour Organization

The ILO has a Program on Safety and Health at Work and the Environment (SafeWork). It also has a page of useful links that allow you to access the:

The ILO International Occupational Safety and Health Knowledge Network, formerly known as the network of CIS National and Collaborating Centres, creates and compiles health and safety information and ensures worldwide access to it. We are the national centre for Australia on this network.

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

We sit on two subcommittees under the UNECE:

  • The UN Sub-Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods
    • The UNSCETDG aims to implement an internationally agreed system for the labelling, packaging and transportation of dangerous goods, through developing the UN’s Model Regulations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods. Australia’s dangerous goods transport requirements align with the UN’s Model Regulations. We provide input to the Explosives Working Group of this committee and also provide the agreed Australian position on explosives matters.

Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development

We contribute to activities relevant to the OECD’s Environment, Health and Safety programme.

Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation

The Chemical Dialogue is one of APEC’s initiatives to promote economic growth, cooperation, trade and investment across many industries. We provide advice to the APEC Chemical Dialogue through the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science in relation to GHS implementation including workplace training, classification and labelling.


Our CEO represents Australia on the G20 OSH Experts Network that contributes to the improvement of communication, coordination and information sharing between G20 countries on OSH in line with Ministerial Declaration and Leader expectations.

The Cochrane Collaboration

We are a member of the Advisory Board for the Cochrane Work Review Group.

The World Congress on Safety and Health at Work

This conference is one of the major international WHS conferences and is jointly organised every three years by the ILO and the ISSA. The XXI World Congress on Safety and Health at Work 2017 was held in Singapore. The 2020 Congress will be hosted by Montreal.

International Commission on Occupational Health

ICOH is an international non-governmental professional society that aims to foster collaboration between scientists around the world working in occupational health. ICOH holds a triennial World Congress on Occupational Health. ICOH 2018 will be held in Dublin and in Melbourne in 2021. 

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