Review of the Workplace Health and Safety Strategy for New Zealand to 2015 (WHSS)
Working Paper: Survey of International Workplace Health & Safety Strategies
New Zealand is not alone in having a national workplace health and safety strategy. Most modern democratic countries have developed workplace health and safety strategies or strategic plans. Governments will never be able to deliver healthy and safe workplaces in isolation due to the multi-participant and complex nature of workplace health and safety. Consequently, workplace health and safety strategies provide a framework to:
- Improve coordination across government agencies
- Involve the wider community, resulting in more stakeholders being involved in strategic design
- Identify areas of priority focus
International Workplace Health & Safety Strategies
A desktop survey of health and safety strategies from three international jurisdictions was undertaken to investigate any areas of convergence in terms of focus, priorities or approaches. The three jurisdictions were Great Britain, Australia and Singapore. All jurisdictions use performance based legislative frameworks like New Zealand. See Annex One for background on the respective jurisdictions.
The survey underlined the general importance of a strategic approach to health and safety. Instructively, a set of strategic themes emerged from the international examples:
- Effective regulatory frameworks, enforcement capacity and justice
- Improving the skills, competence and guidance for workplace participants
- Sector or industry based programmes
- Evidence based prioritisation and targeting of workplace health and safety activities
In addition to these strategic themes, a set of foundational approaches emerged to leading workplace health and safety improvements, namely:
- Proactive stakeholder engagement
- Specific performance targets for the strategy period
- Government agencies "walking the health and safety talk"
- Focusing on workplace culture
Links to the NZ Workplace Health and Safety Strategy to 2015
New Zealand's Workplace Health and Safety Strategy (WHSS) picks up on these international strategic themes and approaches. Consequently, this elementary desktop survey affirms that the WHSS framework for action, intervention mix and strategy principles are consistent with international practice.
See Annex Two for an outline of how international strategic themes and approaches are reflected in the WHSS.
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