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.

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Title Occupational safety and health management systems in Australia: barriers to success
Author(s) Gallagher, Clare
Underhill, Elsa
Rimmer, Malcolm
Journal name Policy and practice in health and safety
Volume number 1
Issue number 2
Start page 67
End page 81
Publisher IOSH Services Limited
Place of publication Wigston, England
Publication date 2003
ISSN 1477-3996
Keyword(s) audit
contextual barriers
management commitment
occupational health and safety
management system
operational integration
workforce consultation
occupational safety and health
Summary 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.
Language eng
Field of Research 150305 Human Resources Management
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2003, IOSH Services Limited
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30006459

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Deakin Graduate School of Business
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