Summary of key observations made by Mr Bartholomaeus in addressing this CIP seminar.
Vision 2000 was created by WorkSafe in 1995 to encourage W.A. enterprises to develop best practice in safety and health by year 2000. WA now has the lowest work related injuries and fatalities in Australia. Their target, of having the safest workplaces in the world, is being helped by "firm but fair" enforcement of regulations which is now combined with a public awareness and education program.
Enforcement of the Occupational Safety & Health Act may result in improvement notices that must be issued by Inspectors for non-compliance that cannot be rectified at that time. Prohibition notices may also be issued. Prosecution however is used only in the last resort and these were reduced last year. Mr Bartholomaeus, said there was prospect for using codes of practice to substantially reduce regulations with industry encouraged to develop its own codes of practice. Broadly, WorkSafe actively encourages workplace auditing and systems that promote best practice.
WorkSafe has promoted the WorkSafe Plan as a management tool for assessing effectiveness of S&H management systems with a system of awards that is being widely adopted.
Public education is being addressed by the ThinkSafe Plan promoted through the popular media helped by videos and hand-out material. It aims for a seven day, 24 hour awareness of safety as a cultural shift. Such campaigns, are not only more desirable for achieving the aim of its Vision, it would also address the large pool of self-employed people with a high injury rate.
A major thrust underpinning the success of WorkSafe, has been the use of the Internet. Its Internet site has become the largest of its kind in the world and used to publish all relevant documents. The Internet has reduced costs for WorkSafe and, in better utilising its resources, has enabled extensive training and awareness programs. Its WorkSafe Smart Move program already had 20 000 grauduates from secondary schools. Notable of the new programs is the development of the SafetyLine Institute with tertiary level lectures and tests with on-line certificates for graduates.
Mr Bartholomaeus said the outstanding performance of Western Australia, as measured by reductions in injuries and fatalities, can be attributed to the State having the greatest safety awareness in Australia.
WorkSafe has developed international recognition and has promoted an
network which is active in China and other Asian countries.
Prepared by Remco Van Santen
2 September 1998