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What’s needed from key stakeholders’ perspective for meeting the 2012 Occupational Health and Safety targets?

The aim of this study was to develop training strategies from the perspectives of key stakeholders in the Australian Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) arena to work together to reduce work-related injury.

Typically OHS is targeted from individual perspectives, i.e., as a regulatory requirement or the impact of such regulations on small business. An holistic approach with all agencies working together to produce change and improvement may be more targeted and produce better results.

Research questions:

  • What actions, beyond institutional changes, have been taken to meet the Australian National OHS Strategy 2002-2012 target of a 40% reduction in work-related injury?
  • What role does training play in the quest to further reduce work-related injury targets?
  • What actions will industry embrace to further reduce work-related injury?

Research methods:

A critical realist perspective (Sayer, 1992) informed the approach. Sayer (1992) defines the organisational structures as sets of internally related objects and mechanisms as ways of acting. This was a qualitative study for which the data collected was conceptualised and reduced, ‘elaborating  categories in terms of their properties and dimensions, and relating through a series of prepositional statements’ (Strauss & Corbin, 1998:12) or coding.

This process allowed for the emergence of key sensitising concepts from the data (McConnell, 2002) thus alerting the researcher to possible avenues for future investigation (Clarke, 1997). These key concepts were analysed within Lewin’s three stage model of change (1958) of ‘unfreezing’,  making the ‘change’ and ‘refreezing’.

The unfreezing is the target that was set in 2002 by Australian National OHS Strategy to reduce work-related injuries by 40% by 2012. The change occurred while the study was undertaken with several strategies underway that have produced a reduction of work-related injury by 2010.

The refreezing took place in 2012 with the completion of the time period set to make the changes. It is the changes that were of particular interest to this study, as well as the perceived additional strategies that key stakeholders suggested to further alter the practices within organisations to meet  the target of 40% reduction by 2012. 20 telephone semi-structured interviews (Fontana & Frey, 2008) were conducted with key stakeholders across Australia.


Dr Susanne Bahn, Chief Investigator
A/Prof Llandis Barratt-Pugh, Chief Investigator

Funding body

Edith Cowan University, Faculty of Business and Law, Strategic Research Fund.


July 2011 – March 2012

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