5 pages/≈1375 words
Health, Medicine, Nursing
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY HISTORY AND LAWS IN AUSTRALIA (Essay Sample)
write 1500 words research essay of the history of occupational health and safety laws, from their earliest roots in ancient times, through to modern day australia and the harmonisation process. in your research essay, you should describe the following and how these events helped shape the ohs/whs laws in australia today: 1-early uk history including the industrial revolution and the factory acts. 2-the robens report and its findings and recommendations. 3-the ohs/whs legal framework, including the purpose of the ohs/whs act, regulations, code of practice and standards, and how they are related. 4-definition of common law and statute law and how they differ. 5-the harmonisation process of australia’s work health and safety laws. your essay should include all aspects as described in the bullet points above. i have attached few lecture slides please refer to those lecture slides if you need more information, efforts should be made to make your essay of sound academic quality. i will send some links through message which you can get your resourceful information source..
Student’s Name: Class Project: Institution’s Name: Course Instructor: Course Code: Date: Introduction. This is a research essay whose purpose is to examine the history of occupational health and safety laws (OHS) from their ancient times to the modern day Australia and the harmonization process. The essay is divided into small sections i.e. a history of the OHS/WHS, the Robens Report, OHS/WHS legal framework, definition of common law and statute law and how they differ and the harmonization process. OHS history The OHS goes way back from as far as 1700BCE. The industrial revolution in Britain and the factory acts contributed a lot in shaping the current OHS in Australia. Australia adopted the British OHS laws, which were as a result of the industrial revolution. The revolution, which occurred between the mid-1700s and the mid-1800s, was aimed at replacing hand methods with machines in manufacturing. Before he invention of steam engines, water wheels were used in manufacturing. Invention of steam power as an energy source saw the factories seek for cheap labor which could easily be offered by children. According to Stearn (2009), this led to a rise in child labor by nineteenth century whereby approximately half of the employees in a factory were children and another 30% were employed in the coalmines. The children worked for 16hours a day for the whole week with bad health conditions and little pay. Child abuse cases were common including sexual exploitation. The terrible living conditions saw the enactment of the first factory legislation act called Health and Morals of Apprentices Act 1802, which reduced the working hours of children reduced to not more than 12 hours per day. It also saw the improvement of living conditions of the workers. However, this act only applied to the textile factories hence children were still abused in other workplaces. The Health and Morals of Apprentices Act 1802 was replaced with an Act for the Regulation of Cotton Mills and Factories 1819. The new act restricted the employment of children under nine years old and limited the working hours of under sixteen year olds to 12hours in a day (Johnstone, Bluff and Clayton, 2014). This act was replaced by the Factory Regulation Act 1833 which involved other factories too not just the textile industries. Pressures on the government by the working class saw the emergence of The Factories Amendment Act 1844, which introduced minimum safety standards. The Robens report, its findings and recommendations. Earlier on, Australia applied the British occupational health and safety laws which were based on the Factory Acts. This approach depended on reports made by inspector and informers concerning OHS related issues, hence its name “command and control”. These laws only concentrated on factories, the machinery conditions and the working hours neglecting the safety of workers when they are at work (Richardson, 2014). The revolution came in 1972 with the coming of the Robens Report, which was a report done by the Committee on Safety and Health at Work headed by Lord Alfred Robens (former head of the England’s National Coal Board). According to Richardson (2014), the Committee on Safety and Health at Work emerged after an accident occurred in a mining field in England. The Robens Report suggested that the existing legislations be reviewed a fresh. Many suggestions arose but the committee declared them inefficient, and rather suggested the implementation of a general duty of care on employers (Richardson, 2014). New OHS Acts were therefore passed. These acts clearly defined the general principle responsibilities which are supported by the code of practice and standards. These laws are in use up to date. The Occupational Health and Safety legal framework. An Act of Parliament is a piece of legislation that has been passed or enacted in Parliament and becomes law. For instance, the Safe Work Australia Act 2008 was enacted by Parliament and mandated the establishment of Safe Work Australia, whose responsibility is to develop the model WHS laws. Then a comprehensive review was conducted into WHS laws across Australia, including consultation with the public and industry. Out of this, the Work Health and Safety Bill was created, that is, a Workplace Health and Safety Act draft or “model”. Public opinion about the bill was then sought in 2009 by releasing the bill to the public for six weeks, and amendments made based on the feedback. In December 2009, the Workplace Relations Minister’s Council approved the final draft, and in June 2011, the bill was finalized, allowing various jurisdictions to enact it in their own Parliaments. Regulations provide more details about the Acts. Unlike Acts, regulations are not made in Parliament but rather by the people mandated by the Parliament i.e. in West Australia, the Governor makes the regulations (Western Australia, Department of the Attorney General, 2011). Regulations also do not require drafts as not all of them are passed in Parliament. Codes of practice are not law but they provide practical guidance on how regulations should be applied. Some examples of odes of practice are Hazardous manual tasks, Confined spaces, Asbestos, Chemical management. Standards are also guidance provided to employers and other obligation holders on how to control certain risks. In health and safety, there are two standards: * National standards which are made by the Safe Work Australia and * Australian standards which are made by Standards Australia in collaboration with committees comprising of technical experts, industry professionals, academics, government representatives, and community experts (Selinger, 2015). Acts, Regulations, Codes of practice and Standards work together in that Acts describe the duties of workers and employers, their powers and how to enforce these powers. Regulations provide detailed information concerning specific hazards and obligations. Codes of practice and standards provide advice and recommends on how the legislative duties outlined in the act and regulations can be met. Common law and statute law Common or case laws are laws that are made by the courts based on the verdicts they issue in the cases they decide (Western Australia, Department of the Attorney General, 2011). The common law originated from England and was adopted by the Australians after colonization. These laws are made by the judge and are formed in relation to the court actions. The various decisions made in cases are recorded and then applied in subsequent cases to form the basis of judgement. Statute law on the other hand is a system of law made through legislation in the Parliament or people mandated by the Parliament to make laws. The two laws are different in that; * Common law is reactive while statute law is preventive. Under the common law, legal action can only be taken after a damage has occurred unlike in statute law where penalties can be issued before a damage occurs. * Common law assumes that a duty of care already exists and an individual knows how to meet them while statute law explains to an individual how to meet his/her duty of care. The harmonization process of Australia’s work health and safety laws After the release of the Robens Report in 1972, OHS laws and regulations underwent a series of changes, with each jurisdiction making its own changes. These led to inconsistent laws between states especially to inter-state traders and inter-state workers who had to work between the territories. Due to this, in July 2008, an Intergovernmental Agreement for Regulatory and Operational Reform in Occupational Health and Safety was signed by the Council of Australian Governments so as to unify the OHS laws between the territories. According to Richardson (2014), the different OHS laws between territories resulted in contradicting laws in the following sectors; * Penalties and enforcement strategies for the same offense differed between the territories. ...
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