Occupational health and safety legislation review report


In 2002, the Bracks Government committed to an update of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1985 to ensure Victoria has the leading occupational health and safety legislation in Australia.

Chris Maxwell QC was commissioned by the Victorian Government to review and update the OHS Act and his report was presented to the Government in March 2004.

The review found that while the current Act had served Victoria well and was basically sound, reforms were needed to make it work better and to meet the needs of workplaces today and into the future.

Occupational health and safety act review - Maxwell report (PDF 2.92mb)

The WorkCover Minister Rob Hulls announced the Bracks Government would consult widely on the recommendations of Chris Maxwell QC's independent review of Victoria's Occupational Health and Safety Act 1985.  


The Maxwell Report was the first review of occupational health and safety laws in two decades, and was discussed with employer and employee groups. The Parliamentary Secretary for WorkCover, Bob Stensholt, led this consultation process.

Consultations were held in metropolitan and rural Victoria with workers, employers, unions, peak groups and other stakeholders. Written submissions responding to the Maxwell report were also received.

In developing his report, Chris Maxwell QC consulted extensively with key stakeholders and interested parties and this also included a large number of written submissions.

Why conduct a review?:

  • too many Victorians continue to die, get injured or become ill as a result of their work. Twenty-nine Victorians have died as a result of a work-related accident (as at 13 December 2004). Our over-riding goal is to improve Victoria’s health and safety system and prevent work-related deaths, injuries, and illness and the associated high social and economic costs;
  • good safety is good for the community and good for business. Work-related deaths, injuries and illness tragically affect workers, their families, workplaces and the community; and
  • since the introduction of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1985, workplaces and working arrangements have changed dramatically. The legislation needed to be modernised to adapt to these changes.

Fact sheets

Occupational health and safety act review - Overview fact sheet (PDF 360kb)

Occupational health and safety act review - Small and medium businesses fact sheet (PDF 357kb)

Occupational health and safety act review - Safer workplaces fact sheet (PDF 336kb)

Occupational health and safety act review - Facts and figures fact sheet (PDF 349kb)

Occupational health and safety act review - Transforming WorkSafe fact sheet (PDF 344kb)