Every worker should go home healthy and safe each day from work.
And in NSW we are working to ensure that workplace fatalities and serious injuries and illnesses are significantly reduced.
Since the 2015 split from WorkCover NSW, SafeWork NSW has worked with stakeholders to formulate a clear focus on improving work health and safety across the state.
One of the first actions was to get talking to stakeholders and find better ways to work together to enhance harm reduction activities.
We consulted with peak industry bodies, community leaders, employers and workers to produce the Work Health and Safety Roadmap for NSW 2022.
The Roadmap is a six year strategy to reduce fatalities, serious injuries and illnesses in NSW.
It aims to entrench a safety landscape in all NSW workplaces to ensure healthy, safe and productive working lives which includes leadership commitment, strong consultation, safe systems, safe design and supply chains, and capable workers looking out for each other.
The biggest risks to health and safety will be addressed head-on with clear targets in place to reduce work-related injury and illness.
The Roadmap could not have happened without the input of the many voices from across the state that participated in shaping the future of work health and safety in NSW.
They believe, as do we, that most injuries and illnesses can be avoided and that every fatality in the workplace is unacceptable.
We’ve come a long way to make a definitive statement like this.
In the 18th century, industrial machinery brought a serious threat to workers lives.
In NSW in 1896, the Department of Labour and Industry was established to administer industrial relations legislation and placed restrictions on the use of children and women for cheap labour in factories.
Factories were required to undergo annual registration and laws prescribed hours of work and minimum standards for wages and working conditions from 1927 onwards.
But there were still too many workers being killed and injured.
It wasn’t until the Roben’s Report in 1972 in the UK that things started to change globally for the better.
In 1983 new occupational health and safety laws in NSW extended across all industries and the focus shifted from prescriptive legislation to identification and management of risks.
The WorkCover Authority was born in 1989.
It was the first government agency to incorporate injury prevention, rehabilitation and compensation into a single body and by 1998 WorkCover had 24 offices across the state.
By 2008 NSW had the lowest workplace injury rates since the scheme began in 1987 and further improvements occurred with the enactment of 2011 harmonised work health and safety laws.
In the last ten years we’ve overseen a 49 per cent decline in work related fatalities.
However, workers are still being fatally injured in workplace incidents and suffering life-long injuries and illnesses.
The Roadmap is a collective response to change this situation.
It contains ambitious targets to reduce fatalities, serious injuries and illnesses and serious musculoskeletal injuries and illnesses.
Can it be done?
Yes. With the commitment from peak bodies, associations, community leaders, employers and workers in NSW, we can achieve these targets and realise the vision of healthy, safe and productive working lives.
Find out more by taking a look at the Roadmap website.
Then help us champion a safer, healthier, more productive NSW – let’s talk safety!