Health & Safety Policy, Legislation, Enforcement & Standards

Health and Safety policy development

The Institute understands the important role of governments and regulatory authorities in the development of policy and practice and seeks to engage and be recognised as having an influential stakeholder role to play.


Position Statement: Safe Work Australia

"The Institute strongly supports the critical role that Safe Work Australia is required to play in providing national policy leadership in workplace health and safety."


Health and Safety law

Legislation reflects the minimum requirements for health and safety management, and establishes a benchmark for compliance. However, it should never be seen as the main reason for providing safe and healthy work environments.  It is critical that health and safety law in Australia be consistent, and is articulated appropriately to fit the times.
The Institute supports nationally harmonised and consistently implemented WHS legislation across all Australian jurisdictions, with the level of detail contained in primary legislation (Acts of Parliament), secondary legislation (Regulations), Codes of Practice, and Guidance material having regard to sustainable safety outcomes based on factors such as levels of hazard and risk, the hierarchy of control, fostering innovation, clarity of understanding, and reduction of unnecessary ‘red tape’ and excessive written material.  

Position Statement: Health and Safety Harmonised Laws

"A nationally consistent WHS legal framework removes unnecessary duplication and regulatory burden on business, providing greater clarity, certainty and economic efficiency for organisations operating in more than one jurisdiction. Accordingly, the Institute strongly supports the harmonisation of WHS legislation across all Australian States and Territories.
While the AIHS acknowledges that while separate legislation regulating health and safety in specific industries or in relation to specific hazards may be necessary, where possible this legislation should be aligned with nationally harmonised WHS laws." 

Health and Safety regulation and enforcement

Effective compliance and enforcement is an important component of the suite of measures to produce healthier and safer workplaces. Organisations have the primary responsibility and accountability for meeting the legislative health and safety requirements as applied to their own organisations.
Regulators play a critical role in providing advice on, confirming, monitoring, and investigating compliance, as well as for incident investigation, determination of causes of accidents and incidents, and pursuing processes to establish penalties associated with non-compliance.

Position Statement: Enforceable undertakings

"The Institute agrees with the appropriate use of Enforceable Undertakings to advance health and safety outcomes, knowledge and practice.”

Health and Safety Standards

Setting health and safety related Standards for industry and other organisations - and monitoring progress toward meeting those Standards - is critical. The Institute supported the Australian adoption of ISO 45001:2018 Occupational health and safety management systems – Requirements with guidance for use. The health and safety profession through the Institute’s College of Fellows has a role to play in the ongoing maintenance and development of Standards. The Institute has advocated for free use of Standards to facilitate health and safety and greater access by smaller organisations.

Position Statement: The Profession’s involvement in Standards

"The AIHS is committed to drawing on the wide-ranging expertise of its members to contribute positively to the ongoing development of workplace Standards, in particular through Standards Australia, which affect the health and safety of all people."

Position Statement: Availability of Standards

"The Institute believes that all Australian Standards related to the management of workplace risks should be made more freely available in order to provide small to medium sized businesses, not-for-profit and other organisations with health and safety resources and management information that is measurable and auditable. This action would encourage better health and safety outcomes, compliance and accountability as well as supporting productivity."