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From fiction to fact - rethinking OHS enforcement

Johnstone, Richard

Description

In the past quarter of a century there has been a significant evolution in the style and form of occupational health and safety (OHS) regulation in Europe, North America, and Australia with most jurisdictions moving from a prescriptive ‘command-and-control’ style of regulation, to more flexible, ‘self-regulatory’, models using less direct means to achieve broad OHS goals (see Gunningham and Bluff, 2003). While OHS standard setting in Australia has changed over the past 20 years, and quite...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorJohnstone, Richard
dc.date.accessioned2003-10-28
dc.date.accessioned2004-05-19T15:10:57Z
dc.date.accessioned2011-01-05T08:46:22Z
dc.date.available2004-05-19T15:10:57Z
dc.date.available2011-01-05T08:46:22Z
dc.date.created2003
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/41221
dc.identifier.urihttp://digitalcollections.anu.edu.au/handle/1885/41221
dc.description.abstractIn the past quarter of a century there has been a significant evolution in the style and form of occupational health and safety (OHS) regulation in Europe, North America, and Australia with most jurisdictions moving from a prescriptive ‘command-and-control’ style of regulation, to more flexible, ‘self-regulatory’, models using less direct means to achieve broad OHS goals (see Gunningham and Bluff, 2003). While OHS standard setting in Australia has changed over the past 20 years, and quite dramatically over the past ten or so years, changes in OHS enforcement have lagged behind. OHS inspection and enforcement is still biased towards ‘traditional’ hazards, such as plant and falls, enforcement is still dominated by advice and persuasion strategies, and prosecutions still largely brought in response to serious injuries and fatalities. The central argument in this paper is that OHS statutes should be strongly enforced, but in a way that both responds (i) sensitively to the major thrust of the modern approach to standard setting, namely that organizations must learn to adopt systematic approaches to OHS management, and should get credit for doing so, and (ii) decisively to detected high risk situations. After outlining the complexities of compliance with modern OHS provisions, the paper places OHS enforcement in its historical context, and shows how the Robens Report partly entrenched the historical approach to OHS enforcement, while highlighting the importance of self-regulation and targeted inspection and self-inspection. The paper then summarises the evidence on the effectiveness of deterrence as an enforcement strategy, and critically evaluates the now well-accepted framework for responsive enforcement. It examines examples of targeted inspection, self-audit and issues involved in inspecting OHS management (OHSM). It concludes with an analysis of the key enforcement methods – improvement and prohibition notices, infringement notices, enforceable undertakings, and prosecution.
dc.format.extent415204 bytes
dc.format.extent359 bytes
dc.format.mimetypeapplication/pdf
dc.format.mimetypeapplication/octet-stream
dc.language.isoen_AU
dc.subjectOHS
dc.subjectoccupational health and safety
dc.subjectself-regulation
dc.subjectinspection
dc.subjectenforcement
dc.subjectenforcement methods
dc.subjectcompliance
dc.subjectdeterrance
dc.subjecttargeted inspection
dc.subjectself-audit
dc.titleFrom fiction to fact - rethinking OHS enforcement
dc.typeWorking/Technical Paper
local.description.notesThis paper was first presented at the conference Australian OHS Regulation for the 21st Century, National Research Centre for Occupational Health and Safety Regulation & National Occupational Health and Safety Commission, Gold Coast, July 20-22, 2003.
local.description.refereedno
local.identifier.citationmonthjul
local.identifier.citationyear2003
local.identifier.eprintid2180
local.rights.ispublishedyes
dc.date.issued2003
local.contributor.affiliationNational Research Centre for OHS Regulation
local.contributor.affiliationANU
local.citationWorking Paper 11
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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