Health and safety regulators in a superdiverse context

Review of challenges and lessons from the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia

It is well established that culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) populations often have a greater risk of poor health and safety at work outcomes compared to other workers.

WorkSafe, with support from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), commissioned the Superdiversity Institute for Law, Policy and Business to undertake this research to uncover challenges and lessons from other regulators in superdiverse countries in improving health and safety outcomes in a culturally and linguistically diverse context.

This research draws on interviews with officials from various Australian, Canadian and United Kingdom health and safety regulators, analysis of legislative frameworks and a broad review of research related to improving the health and safety of CALD workers in the various jurisdictions.

The findings show that achieving good health and safety outcomes for CALD populations is a challenge and awareness and action from the regulator is required.

From the interviews and the analysis, the authors make 15 high-level recommendations and proposed key actions for WorkSafe, including:

  • establishing clear and consistent definitions for key concepts, including ‘CALD workers’ and ‘migrants’;
  • improving the data collection regarding CALD workers in New Zealand;
  • taking an intersectional approach to identify risk factors for CALD workers;
  • employing system-levers to address upstream causes of risk for CALD workers, including precarious employment and worker ‘over qualification’;
  • engaging with CALD communities;
  • targeting communications, education and guidance to CALD employers and employees; and
  • developing internal cultural capability for WorkSafe staff.

Health and safety regulators in a superdiverse context: Review of challenges and lessons from the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia (PDF 1.4 MB)