Elizabeth Bluff

Dr Elizabeth Bluff


Research activity per year

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Personal profile

Research interests

Work health and safety regulation (including legislation, inspection and enforcement policy and practice, and compliance support); Safe design; Risk management; Systematic management of work health and safety.

Researcher's projects

Liz Bluff is currently investigating the relationship between socio-psychological factors and compliance with work health and safety regulation. The research is funded by the Australian Research Council as a Linkage Project with Safe Work Australia as the industry partner organisation. The research is examining how compliance with work health and safety regulation is influenced by regulatees’ motivations, attitudes, perceptions, knowledge, skills, social norms and other socio-psychological factors. Drawing on empirical data from small and medium enterprises, and from regulators, the project aims to construct a coherent theory of compliance that integrates existing, diverse theories, currently in discrete literatures, and through this to contribute to strengthening the capacity of regulators to elicit compliance and improve work health and safety outcomes.

Liz is also working on a second series of research projects funded by Safe Work Australia, which are investigating the implementation and impact of Australia’s harmonised work health and safety (WHS) laws. The projects are examining how WHS regulators support compliance, undertake inspections and enforce the WHS Acts and regulations; the use and effectiveness of documentation standards in the form of safe work method statements and WHS management plans in construction work; and national and international regulatory and advisory frameworks for managing psychosocial risks such as stressors, violence, bullying and harassment at work. The findings from the research projects will enhance understanding of the efficacy of the harmonised WHS laws, and inform recommendations relating to WHS regulatory design and implementation.


BSc (Hons), MApp (OHS), PhD


Liz Bluff is a Research Fellow with the National Research Centre for OHS Regulation, in the School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet). She has worked in the field of work health and safety for 35 years in positions spanning regulatory research, postgraduate education, government policy and legislation development, and management of work health and safety. Initially a graduate in biological science, Liz subsequently qualified in work health and safety with a Masters Degree in Applied Science. Her doctoral research, for which she was awarded the Chancellor's Medal from Griffith University (Qld), was an investigation of response to work health and safety regulation by designers and manufacturers of workplace plant (machinery and equipment).

Liz is the author of Safe Design and Construction of Machinery. Regulation, Practice and Performance, Ashgate 2015; co-author of Work Health and Safety Law and Policy, Thomson Reuters 2012 (with Richard Johnstone and Alan Clayton), and editor of OHS Regulation for a Changing World of Work, Federation Press 2004 (with Richard Johnstone and Neil Gunningham). In addition to peer reviewed publications relating to her research interests in work health and safety regulation, safe design, risk management, and systematic management of work health and safety, she is also an author and contributor to research reports, work health and safety standards, and policies and strategies for various government agencies including Safe Work Australia (and its predecessors the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission and the Australian Safety and Compensation Council), and work health and safety regulators in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory.

Expertise Areas

  • Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety
  • Law and Society


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Network (past 5 years)

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