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The Queensland Government has released the final report of its “Best Practice Review of Workplace Health and Safety Queensland“. Most of the media attention is given to the introduction of Industrial Manslaughter laws but there are some interesting recommendations and discussion on Enforceable Undertakings, insurance products and other matters of interest to business and safety professionals.
The Queensland Government announced the review earlier this year, particularly, in response to fatalities at Dreamworld and Eagle Farm. A Discussion Paper was released in April.
Industrial Manslaughter laws have been floating around Australia’s occupational health and safety (OHS), legal union and political sectors for many years. Only the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) introduced such a law and the Crimes (Industrial Manslaughter) Amendment Act 2003 remains in effect.
The significance in this Queensland report is that the document is entitled “Best Practice” so the panel, based on its own experience and the many submissions it received, adds considerable weight to these controversial laws.
Last week Optus’ Director of Work Health and Safety, Geoff Hoad, spoke enthusiastically of the new international occupational health and safety (OHS) Standard ISO45001 as a “gamechanger”. It is a gamechanger as much as any management Standard can be, which is, in reality, as much as any company allows it to be. Hoad’s presentation included other comments, some that were not kind to the OHS profession.
Hoad was scathing about the current Australian OHS management Standard
On 17 August 2017, Matthew Swinbourn of the Australian Labor Party spoke, at length, in the Western Australian Parliament about workplace safety. His address did not seem to be prompted by an industrial relations dispute or a recent fatality but is supportive of general occupational health and safety (OHS) principles and the changes in WA law to improve compatibility with the Work Health and Safety laws and obligations in other States.
The response from the former Minister for Commerce and Liberal Party member, Michael Mischin, was a curious mix of rebuttals and was one of several Parliamentarians who chose to speak about workplace safety in that State’s Legislative Council.
According to Hansard for that day, Swinbourn mentioned the substantial cost burden on individual workers and their families of workplace injuries.
“Of these costs—this was a surprising figure to me—the overwhelming majority, 95 per cent, is borne by individuals and society. Workers bore 77 per cent of those costs, the community 18 per cent and employers five per cent.”
Last week I asked a question of a panel of occupational health and safety (OHS) regulators about ‘safety differently’. It was something like
“Does OHS/WHS law need to change to accommodate ‘safety differently’ and are any of you applying these principles in your own organisation?”
Part two of the question was ignored and Part One needed clarification as the previous day’s conference discussion of ‘safety differently’ by QantasLink and others wasn’t obvious. The OHS profession and businesses need a new easily digestible term for “safety differently”. Continue reading “Alt-Safety”