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Defining Serious Harm

Consultation on revision of the definition of serious harm

The Department of Labour is completing a review of the definition of "serious harm" under the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992. The review began in April 2007 with the release of Defining Serious Harm: a discussion paper on the revision of the definition of serious harm. The discussion paper contained a proposed draft revised definition and 17 questions on aspects of the draft - to structure discussion and encourage comments and suggestions. Consultation closed in June 2007.

The Department received a total of 116 submissions from employers, industry and professional groups, and unions. Many of the submissions were extensive and showed a high level of discussion of the issues concerned.

Consultation very clearly confirmed the need to revise the definition. Beyond that, there was a wide range of responses and suggestions for changes to the draft contained in the discussion document.

The Department has since reported to the Minister of Labour on the results of consultation, and he has instructed Parliamentary Counsel Office on the content of a regulation containing a new definition. The revision will be accompanied by changes to regulations prescribing the manner of reporting required by the legislation.

Summary of submissions

This report summarises submissions and provides analysis and statistical tables by question, with the department's recommendations in response.

Downloads: Serious Harm Summary paper

Public consultation

To see the original discussion document that summarised the issues and proposed a new definition, as a basis for public consultation, please see below:

Downloads: Serious Harm discussion paper