Limit Values Australia

Safe Work Australia is an independent Australian Government agency with primary responsibility to improve work health and safety and workers’ compensation arrangements across Australia. This also gives effect to the Intergovernmental Agreement for Regulatory and Operational Reform in Occupational Health and Safety, agreed by Council of Australian Governments' (COAG) on 3 July 2008.

Through a partnership of governments, employers and employees, Safe Work Australia drives national policy development on work health and safety and workers’ compensation matters and specifically to:

  • achieve significant and continual reductions in the incidence of death, injury and disease in the workplace
  • achieve national uniformity of the work health and safety legislative framework complemented by a nationally consistent approach to compliance policy and enforcement policy, and
  • improve national workers’ compensation arrangements.

Safe Work Australia is an inclusive, tripartite body comprising 15 members, including an independent Chair, nine members representing the Commonwealth and each State and Territory, two representing the interests of workers, two representing the interests of employers and the Chief Executive Officer of Safe Work Australia.

Under Australian Work Health and Safety laws, exposure standards are mandatory standards which must be complied with. The official list of exposure standards is published in the document Workplace Exposure Standards for Airborne Contaminants.

Exposure standards represent the airborne concentration of a particular substance or mixture that must not be exceeded. There are three types of exposure standards used in Australia:

  1. 8-hour time-weighted average;
  2. Peak limitation; or
  3. Short term exposure limit.

The majority of Australia’s current exposure standards were adopted from the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists’ (ACGIH) TLVs in the early 1980s.

Safe Work Australia is currently conducting a review of the role and use exposure standards in Australia.

September 2012