Hearsay ... the Journal of the Bar Association of Queensland
OOPS. Your Flash player is missing or outdated.Click here to update your player so you can see this content.
Issue 30: October 2008
Safety, Security, Health and Environment Law - Book Review Print E-mail

book-safety_security.jpgBy Michael Tooma
Publisher: The Federation Press 2008

Reviewed by Matthew Craswell

Michael Tooma is a partner at Deacons and a Senior Visiting Fellow of the University of New South Wales’ School of Safety Science.

The scope of Safety, Security, Health and Environment Law is defined from the outset, whereas the author defines safety, security, health and environmental law as “the body of law concerned with the regulation of health, safety, security and environmental risks arising from business undertakings”.1 Similarly, the author’s approach to the subject matter of the text is advised from the very beginning where the reader is informed that the book will explore a framework for an integrated systematic approach to the management of health, safety, security and environmental risks2.

The central premise of this work is the proposition that the law and practice of safety, security, health and environment management should be integrated.

That proposition might, at least initially, provide the reader with cause for some disquiet. In the book’s introduction, Michael Tooma provides a salutary reminder of the failings which have characterised the evolution of our current occupational health and safety and environmental regulatory regimes. Thereafter, at the commencement of chapter 2, he asserts that “While occupational safety, health and environmental law is well developed, occupational security law is still in its embryonic stage. Nevertheless, the law and practice dealing with security and terrorism threats continue to develop at a faster pace than scholarly work analysing it. In many respects, security management is being developed and learnt on the job”.3 One could be forgiven a sense of ‘déjà vu’.

What follows in the book, however, is the development of both a scholarly and practical framework for management of health, safety, security and environmental risks in an occupational setting.

Practitioners, both of the law and of safety science, will discover that the text, methodically, explores the myriad of legislation which governs these areas of practice. In addition, the author undertakes a wide-ranging examination of the principal case law dealing with that legislation.

For anyone charged with the responsibility of managing health, safety, security and environmental risks within a business undertaking, chapter 5 of the book should be mandatory reading. It is there that the text identifies and defines the twenty key elements of a successful system for the management of safety, security, health and environment risks.

For Regulators, chapter 6, though brief, provides a good deal of food for thought.

The book’s central premise, while not universally accepted, is persuasively advocated and the text represents a valuable resource for students, academics and practitioners with an interest in the law of safety, security, health and environment in an occupational context.4

Matthew Craswell


  1. Tooma, M. “Safety, Security, Health and Environment Law” 2008 Federation Press, p.1

  2. Ibid, at p 4.

  3. Ibid, at p.36

  4. At an Australian RRP of $99 or direct from the publisher for $95, the book is good value. The book may be found at http://www.federationpress.com.au/bookstore/book.asp?isbn=9781862876682 .



| | | | | |