Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Faculty of Communications, Health and Science

First Advisor

Dr Milos Netved

Second Advisor

Dr Janis Mussett


Since 1984 the role of the government in Western Australia, has changed in relation to occupational safety and health. This study considers the effect of the occupational safety and health legislation using workers' compensation accident data. Academic and general staff accident data from a Western Australian University were researched. The time period is 20 years- 1979 through 1998 inclusive. 2,773 worker's compensation claims were analysed using Mann Whitney -U tests and cross-tabulations of safety prevention expenditure against the claims. The work environment provides the full spectrum of workplace activities ranging from domicile duties (student housing services) to heavy machinery work (mechanical maintenance) through to construction activity (building and operations), along with exposures to hazardous substances through research programs, and different types of office work activities. The staff numbers were 2949 staff in 1979 increasing to 6938 staff in 1998. The ages of the staff population were from school leavers to staff retirement age (in the latter years this being beyond the age of 65 years). The demographics indicated an aging workforce population with the predisposition to remain in the employ of the University for extended periods of their working lives. There were more female staff members than male staff members and a greater number of male staff hold more senior positions. This tendency was changing in the latter years. The study is unique in that it studies the topic of occupational health and safety from a 'micro' perspective of safety performance on a tertiary education work environment.