Review of the key characteristics that determine the efficacy of OHS instruments: Report to the Minister of Labour
Efficacy of Codes of Practice and Guidance Material
The factors that determine the efficacy of codes of practice and guidance material are wide ranging and include:
- the type of instrument and legal status
- the purpose and characteristics of individual instruments
- development processes
- promulgation activities
- monitoring of implementation
- other contextual influences.
Irrespective of whether OHS instruments are codes, guidance material or another type, they need to be suitable for, accessible to and usable by the target audience, and the target audience needs the capacity and motivation to use them.
Codes of practice or guidance material need to be designed as OHS policy interventions, on the basis of:
- a clear understanding of the rationale for the instrument
- how it is intended to work
- who or what is supposed to change.
Questions need to be answered on the basis of a ‘contextual analysis’ of the characteristics of the intended target audience, the industry sector, culture, supply chain relationships and other relevant contextual issues.
For example, what is the level of competency (education, training and experience) of those who will be responsible for implementation? How does the industry sector respond to regulation generally? Is there any kind of OHS culture to provide commitment to implementation? What are the key hazards and risks? What are the usual sources of information?
Decisions can then be made about:
- the purpose of the instrument
- the appropriate legal status
- characteristics of the instrument
- how the instrument should be developed
- who should be involved
- how it should be promoted, disseminated and explained
- monitoring implementation
- strategic approach to enforcement.