Best practice review of workplace health and safety in the NT

The NT Government has begun a six month review of NT WorkSafe. Independent consultant Tim Lyons has been commissioned to conduct the review following his work with a similar review of the Queensland regulator. Mr Lyons will now work closely with a Territory reference group made up of industry, union and government nominees to look into strengthening NT WorkSafe’s policies, procedures and activities.

Terms of reference

Purpose

The purpose of this review is to undertake a comprehensive assessment of the effectiveness of NT WorkSafe’s policies, procedures and activities in communicating, administering and enforcing the compliance functions of the Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Act as they relate to:

  • Inspections
  • Investigations
  • Prosecutions
  • Enforceable undertakings
  • Research
  • Strategy and policy development
  • Education and awareness sessions

This should be undertaken where possible, through benchmarking NT Worksafe with appropriate best practice safety regulators in other jurisdictions whilst taking into account the context in the Northern Territory.

Reviewer

The Reviewer is independent to government and will undertake the assessment. The Reviewer will work closely with an approved reference group comprising industry, union and government nominees.

Reference group

The reference group will comprise:

  • three union representatives
  • three industry representatives
  • two ex officio government nominees (one from Treasury and one from Education).

Scope

The scope of the review is to:

  1. determine the appropriateness and effectiveness of the current organisational structure, systems and processes in the administration of public safety and compliance.
  2. determine the effectiveness of NT WorkSafe’s compliance regime and enforcement activities (including inspection, investigations and prosecutions), dispute resolution processes and policy development.
  3. determine whether NT WorkSafe has the appropriate balance of regulation of safety (including prosecutions and enforcements) and education and awareness across the Northern Territory.
  4. identify any organisational, management, systems or cultural issues that may affect the organisation’s ability to operate in a best practice model for safety regulators.
  5. identify any capability gaps that may exist with current structural and staffing arrangements.
  6. identify any legislative gaps that may exist and proposed remedies.
  7. consider specific issues such as whether an offence of ‘gross negligence causing death’ should be introduced and whether current penalty levels under the current work health and safety laws act as a sufficient deterrent to non-compliance.
  8. examine any further measures that can be taken to discourage unsafe work practices, taking into account the national review.
  9. provide an opinion on improvements required in the organisation to achieve best practice for a safety regulator both now and into the future, ensuring those suggestions can be funded from and within current resources.

Timeframe

The Reviewer will provide a final report back to the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice by December 2018.

Discussion paper

Best practice review of workplace health and safety in the Northern Territory (875.8 kb)

Last updated: 16 October 2018