Objectives: This study aimed to identify current and emerging issues relevant to Occupational Health & Safety (OHS) research in Australia, and to formulate strategic research directions and strategies for the future. Methods: A national research forum was held which included leading OHS academics, employer and employee representative groups, as well as executives from state (New South Wales) and national (Safe Work Australia) representative bodies. A modified Delphi technique was used for collecting data in three phases. Results: When ranked according to group consensus, the top three priorities for future OHS research in Australia were identified as being psychosocial and soft tissue injury hazards, work/life issues, and the impact of multiple, long-term exposures. Strategies to enhance collaboration despite limited research funding included the need to focus on complementary skills, to make the best use of Safe Work Australia's role (particularly to link with strategic and operational plans), and to foster closer engagement with research communities. Conclusions: While certain research priorities appear to be similar to those of other countries, the current study did identify some unique characteristics within an Australian context. High quality investigations of these issues should now be considered, in conjunction with greater cooperation between governments, regulators, employers and employee groups for the more effective facilitation of applied OHS research in the coming years.
Journal of Occupational Health Vol. 52, p. 241-248