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Regulating safe design and planning of Construction Works: a review of strategies for regulating OHS in the design and planning of buildings, structures and other construction projects

CollectionsANU School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet)
Title: Regulating safe design and planning of Construction Works: a review of strategies for regulating OHS in the design and planning of buildings, structures and other construction projects
Author(s): Bluff, Liz
Keywords: occupational health and safety
construction works
safe design
planning
regulations
common law
OHS statute law
site safety
Publisher: The Australian National University, The National Research Centre for OHS Regulation (NRCOHSR)
Series/Report no.: Working Paper (National Research Centre for OHS Regulation (NRCOHSR), The Australian National University) ; No. 19
Description: 
This paper examines the regulation of safe design and planning of construction works. Eliminating and controlling risks to health and safety "at the source", as early as possible in the life cycle of work and workplaces, is a well recognised strategy for preventing or minimising occupational fatalities, injuries and disease. A commitment to "eliminate hazards at the design stage" is one of five priorities expressed in The National OHS Strategy 2002–2012, endorsed by the Australian Workplace Relations Ministers’ Council in May 2002 ..... As well as designers, those initiating or procuring construction works also influence OHS outcomes through the design features, timeframes, financial aspects and other requirements they specify or impose. This can be a positive influence, encouraging those responsible for design and construction to address OHS matters. Conversely, tight schedules or budgetary constraints may make it impossible to address OHS effectively. Other upstream factors impacting on OHS include poorly considered architectural options, poor organisation and planning, poor selection and coordination of the multiple contractors engaged, and poor coordination and cooperation between the different parties involved in the respective phases of design and planning, and construction .... In Australia, a wide ranging inquiry into the building and construction industry (“The Cole Royal Commission”) recommended that the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission should investigate and report on whether any measures in the CDM regulations should be adopted in Australia, as part of a series of measures to improve OHS in the building and construction industry (Cole, 2003: 54). There is also some existing law relevant to safe design and construction. This paper begins by examining the existing regulatory regime in Australia including the potential for legal action under the common law, the action that might be expected of designers of construction works to guard against common law action, the obligations of designers under OHS statute law and design obligations under the Building Code of Australia (Section 2). The paper then examines the European approach to safe design and planning of construction works, with particular reference to the UK CDM Regulations (Section 3). The impact of the European regulatory initiatives is discussed, on the basis of available evaluation and research (Section 4). Finally, taking account of existing Australian law and insights drawn from European experience, the paper outlines some directions for Australian OHS law, with the aim of enhancing safe design and planning of construction works for the benefit of workers engaged in construction, as well as subsequent use and maintenance of buildings, structures and other construction works (Section 5).
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1885/41229

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