Table of Contents

Regulating Workplace Risks

Regulating Workplace Risks

A Comparative Study of Inspection Regimes in Times of Change

David Walters, Richard Johnstone, Kaj Frick, Michael Quinlan, Geneviève Baril-Gingras and Annie Thébaud-Mony

It examines the implications of the shift from specification to process based regulation, in which attention has been increasingly directed to the means of managing OHS more systematically at a time in which a major restructuring of work has occurred in response to the globalised economy. These changes provide both the context and material for a wider discussion of the nature of regulation and regulatory inspection and their role in protecting the health, safety and well-being of workers in advanced market economies.

Chapter 5: Inspecting Occupational Health and Safety Process Standards in Australia

David Walters, Richard Johnstone, Kaj Frick, Michael Quinlan, Geneviève Baril-Gingras and Annie Thébaud-Mony

Subjects: business and management, human resource management


INTRODUCTION Chapter 4 explained that in Australia the shift from OHS specification standards to performance and process standards began in the late 1970s, and intensified in the period 1983–91 by which time all Australian jurisdictions had introduced Robens-influenced general duties OHS legislation. Initially OHS inspectorates were slow to adapt to these changes, but in recent years significant reforms to structures, processes and procedures have been undertaken within the OHS inspectorates to implement more effectively the new-style OHS standards. Drawing on evidence from a detailed study of four Australian states, this chapter examines how inspectorates implemented process standards and the extent to which they sought to inculcate in OHS duty-holders a more systematic approach to OHS management (OHSM). The following section describes the study of OHS inspectorates that forms the empirical basis for this chapter. We then present the findings of this study, followed by a conclusion. THE AUSTRALIAN STUDY OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF OHS PROCESS STANDARDS Between 2003 and 2007 a study, funded by the Australian Research Council, was undertaken with OHS inspectorates in four state jurisdictions (Queensland, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia), examining activities and responses to changing OHS standards and issues. States were selected as representative of both small and large jurisdictions in terms of geographic size and population size and distribution. In addition to analysis of agency documents and statistics, detailed interviews were undertaken with 160 agency staff (see Table 5.1) including 29 senior managers, 21 ex-inspectors and 94 current inspectors using...

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