Safe Work Australia has an important national role to achieve significant and continual reductions in the incidence of work-related death, injury and illness and to improve outcomes for injured workers and their employers. It is an inclusive tripartite forum representing the interests of the Commonwealth, states and territories, as well as workers and employers in Australia to:
- collaborate on national work health and safety (WHS) and workers’ compensation matters
- lead the development of evidence-based policies and supporting strategies, and
- promote consistency in WHS and workers’ compensation arrangements.
This collaborative model brings together and recognises varying views and interests to ensure effective national policy and strategies to improve WHS and workers’ compensation outcomes.
This plan describes the activities to be undertaken by Safe Work Australia in performing its statutory functions during 2018–2019, within the total operating budget of $20.497m.
The activities give effect to the strategies outlined in the Safe Work Australia Corporate Plan 2018–2022 and reflect the priorities agreed by Safe Work Australia Members, particularly:
- supporting the Review of the model WHS laws
- finalising the review of workplace exposure standards
- finalising the review of the model Codes of Practice
- continuing the development of accessible, effective and practical material to support the model WHS legislative framework which aids understanding and compliance, particularly for small business
- continued maintenance of the National Assessment Instruments and high risk work licencing framework
- implementation of the Members’ response to the review of the Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012–2022. This response highlights the need for:
- a continued focus on the priority industries and conditions, and
- addressing WHS risks for all workers, including those most at risk - whether long standing (such as musculoskeletal disorders and occupational lung disease) or emergent (such as occupational violence, bullying, sexual harassment and psychosocial hazards)
- the Virtual Seminar Series and National Safe Work Month
- the ongoing collection, analysis and dissemination of high quality evidence, and
- key workers’ compensation matters, including a focus on return to work and continued implementation of national permanent impairment arrangements.
During 2018 and 2019 Safe Work Australia will:
Review, evaluate and if necessary, revise the model WHS laws to address issues impeding the effective and efficient operation of the laws and improve safety outcomes. (Strategy 4)
- Implement the Members’ response to the findings of the mid-term review of the Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012–2022 and coordinate and report on activities undertaken to assist in the achievement of the Strategy’s outcomes and targets. (Strategy 1)
- Develop and implement, including using innovative technologies, national education and communication strategies and initiatives to build awareness and knowledge of WHS and workers’ compensation and promote consistency in arrangements. (Strategy 2)
- Collect, analyse and report on relevant data and undertake and disseminate research to identify new priorities and provide evidence for the development or evaluation of policies and supporting strategies. (Strategy 3)
- Develop policy proposals and supporting strategies to improve workers’ compensation arrangements, with a particular focus on return to work. (Strategy 5)
- Work with other national and international bodies to share data, information and/or knowledge, and represent Australia as appropriate, to improve Australian outcomes. (Strategy 6)
The effectiveness of these activities in assisting to reduce death, injury and disease and meet the outcome of healthier, safer and more productive workplaces will be measured through systematic review and evaluation.