The National Safety Council of Australia (NSCA) was formed in Victoria in May 1927 from a coalition of 52 organisations concerned with safety. The idea was originally proposed by the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV) to reduce road accidents, but was extended to provide for greater safety of all classes of the public at work, on the road, and in the home. The founding member organisations included state government agencies, insurers, trade unions, city councils and other non-profit organisations such as the Royal Life Saving Society Australia. Its scope initially focused on road safety, sea safety and industrial safety.
Although formed as a company limited by guarantee, the NSCA was granted an exemption by the state Attorney-General from using the word “Limited” in the name. It was also granted exemptions from lodging audited annual financial statements, changes to office bearers or lists of members. Such exemptions were generally available to companies whose purpose was charitable in nature.
In 1929 the NSCA began broadcasting weekly safety lectures on radio. Prominent speakers included the Chief Commissioner of the Victoria Police, the chief officer of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, the chairman of the Royal Life Saving Society and the Chief Commissioner of the Victorian Railways. In August 1946 the NSCA held its first national safety convention in Adelaide, South Australia.
For much of its life the NSCA was a volunteer organisation concerned largely with accident prevention. In the 1980s the Victorian Division expanded rapidly to become a search and rescue organisation. Following the collapse of the Victorian Division in the late 1980s, and the subsequent impact on the other state offices, the NSCA was centralised and embarked on a corporate restructure in the early 1990s, as a not-for-profit organisation providing workplace health and safety services.
In 2014, a decision was made for the NSCA to refocus on membership and enhancing membership value. To continue its mission of providing information, inspiration and support to Australian industry, the NSCA separated the commercial and public service arms of the business. A strategic partnership with Wesfarmers Industrial & Safety (WIS) was formed and the professional Training and Consulting services of the NSCA was outsourced to WIS. The NSCA was renamed the NSCA Foundation with an aim to continue to focus on the improvement of membership services and promoting the safety message within the Australian community. By 2017 the NSCA Foundation entered a strategic partnership with Fire & Safety Australia (FSA), who acquired the professional Training services of the NSCA from WIS.
Today the NSCA Foundation is Australia’s leading safety community—a member based, non-profit organisation focused on improving workplace health, safety and wellbeing throughout Australia. We are the national voice of safety guiding industry towards safer and healthier workplaces. Through our substantial membership our vision is that Australian workplaces are the safest in the world and protect their most important asset – people. We achieve this vision by inspiring Australian workplaces to the continuous pursuit of best practice in safety and to provide relevant and topical safety education, training and development.
As of 2019, the NSCA Foundation offers a membership program unprecedented in its long history. This membership program includes exclusive member resources, interactive events, the latest industry news and updates, access to a helpdesk, discounts for training services, subscription to Australia’s leading National Safety magazine and more. In addition to the membership program, the NSCA Foundation continues to convene the prestigious annual National Safety Awards of Excellence, honouring individuals and organisations who champion workplace safety and health innovation and best practice.