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New national strategy paves the way for safer and healthier work


24 February 2023

The Queensland Government has welcomed the release of a new national 10-year work health and safety strategy, alongside new tactics to protect workers from silica dust and psychosocial hazards in the state’s workplaces.

Safe Work Australia has published the Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2023-2033 which has been agreed by all Australian governments and is evidence-based with a vision of safe and healthy work for all.

The strategy sets an overarching national framework which will guide Workplace Health and Safety Queensland to achieve its goal of reducing worker fatalities, injuries and illnesses.

Head of Queensland’s work safety regulator, Kym Bancroft said the strategy represents an important national commitment to work together and to see the number of fatalities caused by traumatic injuries plummet by 30 per cent.

“In the coming months, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland will deliver two new codes of practice which support the vision and goals of this strategy,” Ms Bancroft said.

“One of the key targets is to see no new cases of silicosis by 2033, and this is absolutely a priority for my office.

“An Australian-first construction silica code of practice will be launched in May. It will outline employers’ obligations and provide practical ways to prevent workers in the construction and associated manufacturing industries from being exposed to respirable crystalline silica and the deadly silicosis it can cause.

“We’re also delivering a best-in-class new psychosocial hazards code of practice that’s effective as of April 2023. This will go a long way towards building the capability of employers and workers to protect people from psychosocial risks at work.

“The national strategy emphasises collaboration and coordination across the WHS system. This will be key to improving work health and safety over the next decade,” Ms Bancroft said.

Safe Work Australia Chief Executive Officer, Michelle Baxter said the strategy reminds everyone that all workers have the right to return home safely.

“While data shows that fatal and serious injuries at work have declined over the last decade, Australian workers are still getting sick and injured, sometimes fatally, from work,” Ms Baxter said.

“This new Strategy addresses ongoing and emerging challenges over the next decade, including managing psychosocial risks, the rise of artificial intelligence, automation and related technologies and new types of work including gig and platform work.”

As well as reducing traumatic injuries by 30 per cent, the strategy aims to reduce permanent impairment cases by 15 per cent and see the overall incidence of work-related injuries and illness fall to below 3.5 per cent.”

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