Codes of practice and guidance material fulfil important roles in Australia and New Zealand under their respective regulatory regimes. The former provide greater certainty about what constitutes compliance and the latter provide broader advice. Yet notwithstanding their centrality to the success of OHS regulation, these mechanisms have been subject to very little empirical scrutiny.
The principal aim of this report was to review key characteristics that determine the efficacy of OHS codes of practice and guidance materials and, in so doing, to fill some gaps in the knowledge base about them. The report is underpinned by a review of the literature relating to codes and guidance materials (both regulator and industry developed), in Australia, New Zealand and internationally, in the area of OHS and other areas of regulation. This review is complemented by detailed interviews and questionnaires administered to 54 respondents, drawn from OHS regulators, industry, unions, OHS and other specialists in seven countries (Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Canada, The Netherlands, Denmark and Finland). The review is also informed by an online survey of 22 users of codes and guidance materials (in Australia and New Zealand).