Occupational safety and health management systems in Australia: barriers to success
Gallagher, Clare, Underhill, Elsa and Rimmer, Malcolm 2003, Occupational safety and health management systems in Australia: barriers to success, Policy and practice in health and safety, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 67-81.
The growing popularity of occupational safety and health management systems in Australia has stimulated critical debate about their effectiveness. This paper asks whether the performance of such systems lives up to expectations. Making use of a research review and an extensive interviewing programme, the paper draws several conclusions. First, it observes that the definitional requirements for an occupational safety and health management system have been watered down, making it more likely that organisations can claim to have a system, but less likely that it will be effective. Second, a review of empirical research reinforces the view that systems can improve health and safety outcomes, but only if they meet strict conditions concerning senior management commitment, effective workforce involvement and programme integration. Third, several barriers to successful implementation are identified, including the failure to meet essential success factors, the inappropriate application of audit tools to ensure compliance, and their problematic application in certain sectors such as small business, contractors, and the part-time and temporary workforce. The paper concludes that occupational safety and health management systems can live up to their promise, but often fail to do so because of inadequate implementation or application in hostile environments.
Published in Policy and Practice in Health and Safety, by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, UK. Copyright IOSH Services Ltd.
Field of Research
150305 Human Resources Management
Socio Economic Objective
970115 Expanding Knowledge in Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
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