The Relationship between `Reasonably Practicable' and Risk Management Regulation
This article examines the relationship between two concepts that are central to Australian OHS legislation, the notion of 'reasonably practicable' and the risk management principles. The article discusses the way in which the courts and the OHS statutes have interpreted the notion of reasonably practicable, exploring, in particular, how the courts have interpreted the employers' statutory general duties as requiring positive and proactive steps, including rigorously identifying, assessing and addressing risks. The article then examines the definition and interpretation of risk management principles under OHS legislation, identifying some weaknesses in the ways that these provisions are currently expressed and some potential areas of inconsistency with the courts' interpretation of the general duties and reasonably practicable. The article concludes with some suggestions for ways to integrate these concepts within the general duty provisions, in order to make the relationship between the two concepts both explicit and consistent.
Australian Journal of Labour Law