It was established in 2009, and is jointly funded by the Commonwealth, state and territory governments through the Intergovernmental Agreement for Regulatory and Operational Reform in Occupational Health and Safety signed in July 2008.
The agency works with these levels of government, in addition to unions and industry, to reduce death, injury and disease in the workplace.
While it is a national body, Safe Work Australia is involved exclusively with policy, and is not a regulator of work health and safety. The Commonwealth, states and territories have responsibility for regulating and enforcing work health and safety laws in their jurisdiction.
Safe Work Australia works to:
- raise awareness of work health and safety as a key issue in the community
- improve work health and safety, through understanding what influences Australian
- workplace cultures and then putting in place mechanisms to effect change
- harmonise work health and safety laws throughout Australia
- develop national work health and safety and workers’ compensation policy; and
- identify opportunities for improvement in workers’ compensation arrangements.
- promoting work health and safety through events including Safe Work Australia Week and the annual Safe Work Australia Awards
- implementing the National Occupational Health and Safety Strategy 2002–2012 and developing the new National Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012–2022
- developing the Model Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act, Regulations and Codes of Practice relating to work health and safety
- developing and implementing the National Workers’ Compensation Action Plan 2010–2013
- developing and maintaining collaborative Australian and international partnerships on work health and safety, and
- monitoring, collecting, analysing and reporting on research and data for work; and
- health and safety and workers’ compensation policy development and evaluation.
Following implementation, Safe Work Australia has worked to monitor and evaluate the harmonised national work health and safety framework.