Cementing imageSince 2012, model work health and safety (WHS) laws have been introduced in all jurisdictions, except Western Australia and Victoria. Many people are interested in knowing what impact the laws have had on the health and safety performance of Australian workplaces, particularly in relation to the regulatory burden placed on businesses of different sizes and who  operate in one or more  than one jurisdiction.

These questions were  explored in a survey developed by Safe Work Australia in 2014, the Health and Safety at Work: Your Experiences and Costs Survey 2014 (the HSW Survey). The first of its kind, this national survey of businesses collected data on regulatory burden and on perceptions of work health and safety.

Some of the findings for the construction industry are:

  • 15 per cent of construction employers agreed that the time it takes before safety improvements are implemented is too long.
  • 40 per cent of construction employers felt that the main causes of work- related injury were  the worker being careless.
  • 56 per cent of construction employers said the top work health and safety activity that led to them incurring a financial cost was electrical safety.
  • 44 per cent of construction employers nominated employer/industry associations as the top source of work health and safety information.
  • 83 per cent of construction employers agreed that they are confident that they have the knowledge and skills to protect themselves and others at work.
  • 12 per cent of construction employers agreed that workers ignore safety rules to get the job done.

The results of this survey  will help inform the reviews of the model work health  and safety laws and future policy development. It can also be used to judge  progress meeting the goals of the Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012-2022.

The survey will be run again in 2016—17 and will cover:

  • work health and safety perceptions and behaviours
  • estimates of costs and benefits of health and safety, and
  • information to aid more robust analysis including the number of employees and turnover.

The 2016—17 survey will be developed in consultation with Safe Work Australia Members and stakeholders.

For further information visit the Safe Work  Australia website.

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