Scand J Work Environ Health 1997;23(5):325-333    pdf | Issue date: Oct 1997

Occupational health and safety in national development -- the case of Australia

by Emmett EA

Over the last 15 years occupational health and safety has undergone a rapid transformation in Australia. This review discusses the changes, emphasizing, the sociopolitical and economic context, national developments in policy and practice, and the dialogue between the public and occupational health and safety agencies and professionals about occupational health and safety matters. First came the classical phase when activities followed the accepted hygienic, medical, and inspection traditions laid down early in the century. A phase followed in which modern legislation was introduced, new institutions were created, and research and data gathering on important issues was intensified. Finally came the current phase characterized by a performance paradigm. Emphasis was given to regulatory reform and the use of nonregulatory initiatives to facilitate better occupational health and safety.