Occupational Health and Safety Risk in Public HospitalsPhoto of report cover

Tabled: 28 November 2013

Occupational health and safety (OHS), which covers staff health, safety and welfare in the workplace, is particularly important in public hospitals because of the major hazards that exist in these environments. Such hazards can lead to musculoskeletal injuries, acute traumatic injury, infections such as hepatitis and potentially even death. The impact of poor OHS is felt not only by the affected staff, but also by the patients they are treating.

The audit found that while there are examples of better practice among the audited public hospitals, there are also significant shortcomings which put staff at unnecessary risk.  Among the key findings are that insufficient priority is being given to OHS in public hospitals by senior management and the Department of Health (the department). Managers within public hospitals need to be held more accountable for the OHS performance of areas under their control.

Neither the department, as the health system manager, nor WorkSafe, as the OHS regulator, has a comprehensive understanding of sector‑wide OHS risks or emerging trends in public hospitals. Collaboration between the department and WorkSafe until recently has been poor with missed opportunities to collectively reduce sector-wide OHS risk. Wide variability between public hospital OHS management practices—such as quality assurance of safety management systems and safety inspections—highlight the need for stronger sector-wide leadership.   











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Audit Team

Michele Lonsdale
Sector Director


Michael Herbert

Team Leader


Aina Anisimova


Dallas Mischkulnig

Engagement Quality Control Reviewer




Last updated on 8/31/2016