UNSW Canberra academic chairs development of new global work health and safety standard

| 25 Sep 2018

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An international project working group, appointed by the Global Sustainability Standards Board and chaired by UNSW Canberra Senior Lecturer Dr Sharron O’Neill, has significantly revised the Global Reporting Initiative’s international occupational health and safety reporting standard.

The new standard has been released publicly ahead of its official launch at the Europe Health Forum next week.

Dr Sharron O’Neill will present the key changes to a national audience at this week’s Safety Forum, cohosted by the Safety Institute of Australia and MyOSH.

The project team was tasked with revising the workplace health and safety (WHS) standard for the GRI, an international independent body that produces the world’s most trusted and widely used standards for sustainable reporting.

The standard, known as GRI403, represents leading best practice for measuring and reporting on occupational health and safety impacts. They are used by almost 7400 organisations, including 75 per cent of reports issued by the world’s largest 250 corporations and hundreds of Australian organisations; including companies, government departments, local councils and not for profit entitites.

Dr O’Neill says the revisions reflect recent developments in WHS management and reporting and complement the International Organization for Standardization’s new ISO45001 standard.

“The new standards align well with our harmonised WHS legislation and with the focus of organisations like the Australasian Reporting Awards,” Dr O’Neill says.

“Although it is a voluntary global reporting standard, the guidance it provides is relevant to anyone who includes work health and safety information in their annual report or sustainability report.”

The new standards were developed with an expert multi-stakeholder working group with representatives from labour, civil society, investors, business and international and governmental institutions.

Changes include a greater emphasis on hazards and the hierarchy of controls, and improved methodologies for calculating injury and illness data.

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