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In 2010 all Australian governments publicly committed to implementing nationally uniform laws about workplace health and safety. This development is bringing to fruition a process that began 30 years ago. However, Victoria is one of two states that have not implemented the agreed national laws. Therefore this subject examines in detail the content of Victorian law, as well as the new national laws.
By referring to the existing state, territory and commonwealth body of law, this subject considers the operation of Victorian workplace health and safety law in its historical and industrial setting as well as the likely practical operation of the new regulatory regime. The lecturer is a barrister with extensive practical experience in running cases under workplace health and safety laws.
Principal topics include:
- The problem of work-related injury and disease
- The history of the legal regulation of health and safety at work
- Nationally uniform workplace health and safety laws
- Standard-setting under the Australian workplace health and safety statutes
- State enforcement of the workplace health and safety legislation
- Workers’ rights under the Australian workplace health and safety statutes
- The anti-bullying jurisdiction of the Fair Work Commission
- Workers’ compensation schemes in Australia
- The rehabilitation of injured workers
- The role and impact of the common law duty to provide a safe workplace.
Intended learning outcomes
A student who has successfully completed this subject will:
- Have an advanced and integrated understanding of the legal principles of Australian workplace health and safety law within the context of work, including recent developments in this field of law and practice
- Be able to examine critically, analyse, interpret and assess the effectiveness of these legal rules
- Be an engaged participant in debate regarding emerging and contemporary issues in the field, such as workplace bullying, discrimination and the scope of workers’ compensation law
- Have a sophisticated appreciation of the factors and processes driving parliamentary revision of the legal framework
- Have an advanced understanding of situations in which issues of safety considerations may arise in work relationships and management practices
- Have a detailed understanding of workplace health and safety legal regimes in an international context
- Have the cognitive and technical skills to generate critical and creative ideas relating to workplace health and safety laws and to critically evaluate existing legal theories, principles and concepts with creativity and autonomy
- Have the cognitive and technical skills to examine independently, research and analyse existing and emerging legal issues relating to workplace health and safety;
- Have the communication skills to articulate clearly and convey complex information regarding workplace health and safety to relevant specialist and non-specialist audiences
- Be able demonstrate autonomy, expert judgment and responsibility as a practitioner and learner in the field of workplace health and safety law.
Last updated: 9 October 2020