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The harmonisation of Australian mining work health and safety laws achievements to date

Martin, Andrew (2012) The harmonisation of Australian mining work health and safety laws achievements to date. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

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In the 1970’s Lord Robens chaired a United Kingdom committee which produced a highly influential report titled Safety and Health at Work. This report simultaneously recognised the increasing importance of safety and health at work, in response to changing community attitudes and expectations, while also aiming to reduce the administrative cost burden posed by the same. Into the 1980’s each Australian state and territory enacted work health and safety legislation which aimed to put these ‘Robens’ principles’ into practice. However, this was largely done in isolation and so almost as soon as the ink was dry, attempts to make this this resulting legislation more similar and less disparate by harmonising the legislation began across the Australian Commonwealth. Aimed at both mine and general work health and safety, these attempts have largely been unsuccessful with respect to mine work health and safety. This is the case even though uniform or identical legislation has not been attempted, rather just harmonised legislation.

Notwithstanding the potential economic benefit to Australia, given the long history of attempted harmonisation of Australian mine work health and safety legislation, achieved this result is clearly a major challenge. This paper will attempt to explain why this is so, while also analysing in some detail the current state of Australian mine work health and safety legislation nationally. This will be done by theoretical analysis of the respective state legislation as well as by practical case study, where fictional scenarios of potential mine health and safety legislative issues will be analysed. This will allow the current state of national harmonisation to be accurately determined.

The author of this paper is an appointed Inspector of Mines and professionally qualified electrical engineer with the Western Australian Department of Mines and Petroleum. Notwithstanding, only publically available information has been accessed for this paper and any opinions expressed herein are solely that of the author in a personal capacity.

Item Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Law
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Bröhmer, Jürgen
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