New Research from Safe Work Australia to Inform Work Health Safety Policies and Practices

Safe Work Australia has recently published four new research reports that will help to inform the development of work health and safety (WH&S) policy and practice in Australia.

The reports provide information about the level of awareness of WH&S among Australian workers and employers, shows how workers and employers source WH&S information, takes a thorough look at the transport industry, and examines the levels of neck and back pain in young workers as well as the associated loss of productivity.

Safe Work Australia’s Chief Executive Officer says that each of the reports raises significant implications for improving WH&S. Their research provides a greater understanding into how aware Australian workers and employers are of WH&S in the workplace and how they attempt to manage risks actively.

The four research briefs are aimed at business owners and operators, workers, policy makers, officers in WH&S or allied areas, employer and industry groups and WH&S academics. The reports are available on Safe Work Australia’s website.


  1. The Mindfulness of work health and safety in the workplace report is about the mindfulness, or the conscious awareness of employers, sole traders, and workers, to workplace factors that could affect WH&S.
  1. The Work productivity loss in young workers report is about how our reliance on young worker productivity will increase as the Australian working population ages. The research examines the health of young workers and how impacts upon their productivity and working lives. The report highlights the prevalence of diagnosed neck and back pain in the 23-year-old Western Australian workers in this study. These workers with musculoskeletal pain take nearly two times as much sick leave as pain-free workers. The report’s productivity measures use absenteeism due to health or other reasons and presenteeism. It also assesses the incidence of psychological conditions, such as anxiety and depression amongst young people. Estimated losses in productivity from absenteeism alone are $139 million per year. Over the course of a career, the impact of neck and back pain from quite a young age would have significant productivity costs at both organisational and national levels if not addressed within the workplace.
  1. The Transport industry: Synthesis of research findings report raises a concern about the level of acceptance of rule breaking and risk taking, which is higher in transport than in other industries. It identifies some important factors to address to reduce the high levels of injuries and deaths and generally improve health and safety in the transport industry. The report’s findings show sprains, strains and chronic muscle or joint conditions are higher for transport workers than in other industries. Transport workers are more often exposed to airborne hazards such as fumes, gasses, vibration, and the sun.
  1. The Sources of work health and safety information in Australian workplaces report shows how employers, sole traders, and workers source information about WH&S. It also examines how employers give WH&S information to their workers.