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Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy - The big picture has been reviewed and revised

The current Australian ten-year Work Health and Safety (WHS) Strategy devised by Safe Work Australia runs from 2012-2022. This Strategy promotes the vision of healthy, safe and productive working lives and sets outcomes to be achieved by 2022 across Australia. It also identifies priority conditions and industries.

The following four outcomes are linked:

  • Reduced incidence of work-related death, injury and illness achieved by;
  • Reduced exposure to hazards and risks using;
  • Improved hazard controls and supported by; and
  • An improved WHS infrastructure.

The following seven action areas have been identified as being able to collectively contribute to the delivery of the above four outcomes:

  • Healthy and safe by design;
  • Supply chains and networks;
  • Health and safety capabilities;
  • Leadership and culture;
  • Research and evaluation;
  • Government; and 
  • Responsive and effective regulatory framework.

Ultimately, the strategy hopes to deliver the following targets:

  • A reduction in the number of worker fatalities due to injury of at least 20 per cent;
  • Reduction in the incidence rate of claims resulting in one or more weeks off work of at least 30 per cent; and
  • A reduction in the incidence rate of claims for musculoskeletal disorders resulting in one or more weeks off work of at least 30 per cent.

The mid-term review of the Strategy was completed mid-2017 and the associated report was delivered in October 2017. The review focussed on:

  • Progress against the Strategy's targets;
  • How the Strategy has influenced WHS activities;
  • Whether the key elements of the Strategy can continue to drive safety improvements; and
  • The areas of WHS that require greater attention over the next five years to achieve the Strategy's vision.
  • The following are priority conditions:
  • Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs);
  • Mental health conditions;
  • Cancers (including skin cancer and asbestos-related cancers);
  • Occupational lung diseases;
  • Contact dermatitis; and
  • Noise-induced hearing loss.

The following priority industries were found to have high numbers and rates of injury and/or fatalities, or were by their nature hazardous:

  • Agriculture;
  • Road transport;
  • Manufacturing;
  • Construction;
  • Accommodation and food services;
  • Public administration and safety; and
  • Health care and social assistance.

The Strategy is an important document that helps to frame how the various key parties can work collaboratively to ensure healthy, safe and productive working lives across Australia.

Associated links.

The updated Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 20122022 https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/system/files/documents/1804/australian-work-health-safety-strategy-2012-2022v2_1.pdf

Mid-term review of the Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 20122022https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/system/files/documents/1711/mid-term-review-of-the-australian-work-health-and-safety-strategy_1.pdf

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