Regulating Occupational Health and Safety in a Changing Labour Market



Johnstone, Richard

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The Australian National University, The National Research Centre for OHS Regulation (NRCOHSR)


Introduction ....From the late 1970s in Australia, and particularly during the 1980s, Australian OHS legislation was significantly reformed . For the purposes of this paper, the most significant changes in the reformed OHS statutes were the introduction of general duty provisions (the content of which was based largely on the common law negligence standard of care), including duties on employers and self-employed persons to ensure the OHS of persons other than employees, and provisions enabling ‘employees’ to have health and safety representatives, and to participate in health and safety committees. While this model is largely based on the twentieth century assumption that labour law is the regulator of employment relationships, in the provisions imposing general duties on employers and self-employed persons in relation to persons other than employees – introduced ostensibly to protect ‘the public’ from workplace hazards – there was the potential to interpret the duty as applying to workers other than employees.



OHS statutes, Interpretation of OHS legislation, OHS regulatory requirements, Networked organisations and OHS statutes, Australian OHS legislation




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Open Access

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This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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