The primary function of legislation in Australia is that of an educative one rather than an enforcement role. An example of legislation the main function of which is to educate is the Occupational Health and Safety Act, 1985 (O.H.&S. Act). The main aim of the Act is to legislate for a safe work place, breaches of the Act can induce human suffering, therefore the Act is designed to prevent workplace accidents, not to prosecute.
The O.H.&S. Act was introduced after a time of social change. The sixties and seventies were times of protest on matters concerning equality for women and for many underprivileged groups. As a result of this, a demand for the rights of safety within the workplace followed. With the advent of the Act in 1985 came a legitimation to the premises of workplace health and safety. The demands for workplace health and safety were recognised by the government and it accommodated by legislating for a safe workplace. The OH & S Act satisfies a need to educate the public on workplace safety and the right to workplace rehabilitation after a workplace illness, by using many social mechanisms. These mechanisms include the set up of a beaurocratic organisation—Workcover, to administer the Act. Workcover educates the public through the use of training schemes, graphic television commercials and standards as a guide to correct practice. Evolution of the Act to management of safety by employers and employees demonstrated that legislation is a self-referential system that has feedback loops which are the result of the education of society. The mechanisms used in the processes of education are socially constructed. Legislation is therefore used to guide society into acceptance of an ideal/framework.