Missed lessons from work-related traffic incidents 5

Cover of Work-related-fatalities-involving-trucksIn early 2014 a truck driver drove his vehicle into an intersection, collided with a car resulting in the death of four out of five members of one family. The truck driver, Jobandeep Gill, has been sentenced to 10 years jail.  Video of the incident site shows a company name on the side of the van.  It is not possible to determine who Gill was driving for or what his employment status was but, regardless of this, it seems a work vehicle was involved in the death of four people, and therefore occupational safety laws (OHS) may have been broken.

It is accepted by OHS regulators that a truck is a workplace for the driver and that OHS responsibilities of all workers include

“… take reasonable care for the health and safety of persons who may be affected by the employee’s acts or omissions at a workplace…” (Section 25 of the Victorian OHS Act 2004)

On 25 November 2015, Dr Rwth Stuckey stated at an ISCRR seminar that:

“WRR (work related road) crashes [are the] leading cause of traumatic work-related fatality & injury in most westernised countries.”

So why don’t OHS regulators follow-up WRR crashes by interviewing the truck owners or the employers of the drivers?  Perhaps statistics don’t support Dr Stuckey? More…

The 39 (per cent) Steps 1

ISCRR IICOT 251115 editAt lunchtime today, the Institute for Safety, Compensation and Recovery Research (ISCRR) conducted a short seminar of five 7-minute presentations, predominantly, from academic researchers.

The most significant statistic provided was by Dr Genevieve Grant who said that only 39% of injured workers submit claims for workers compensation.  The significance is that the Australian government, OHS regulators and policy makers rely on the number of claims being a measure of the level of workplace safety.

This figure illustrates the absurdity of many of the statements made about which is the safest State in Australia.   More…

Workplace bullying book tries new psychology approach Reply

A new book on workplace bullying deserves close attention. Workplace Bullying by Joseph Catanzariti and Keryl Egan is a refreshing publication from LexisNexis Australia for several reasons. It balances information about the prevention of workplace bullying, the cultural and psychological underpinnings of workplace bullying, and the potential processes through the Fair Work Commission to seek resolution.  Most of the chapters are easy to read and the book is continuously interesting.  One downside is it seems expensive at A$110. More…

OHS benefits of motion sensors and contemporary anthropometry Reply

Several years ago, at a workshop over the development of the next Australian National Strategy for occupational health and safety (OHS), participants were asked to forecast an issue that would appear or be useful in the next decade.  I suggested sub-dermal implants that would record or transmit real-time health data.  My suggestion was received with laughter and a little bit of horror.

The sub-dermal implants for OHS monitoring are yet to occur but the electronic collation of important health data has progressed to a high level of relevance. This not only involves measuring body stresses but the bodies themselves. More…

New workplace bullying report raises awareness in UK 1

imageRecently workplace bullying gained increased attention in the United Kingdom due to media report about a discussion paper released by Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas).

The report called “Seeking better solutions: tackling bullying and ill-treatment in Britain’s workplaces” is a very good summary of thinking on workplace bullying that acknowledges the Australian experience but seems to indicate that Britain remains in the early stages of tacking the workplace bullying situation after a series of false starts on the issue.

SafetyAtWorkBlog posed some questions about this paper to Dr Shainaz Firfiray, Assistant Professor of Organisation & HRM at Warwick Business School and an expert on social identity, work-life balance and ethics.  Her responses are below but before that it is useful to note the key messages of the discussion paper: More…

Time to reassess our approaches to machinery safety Reply

9781472450777.PPC_alternative mobilitesTalking about workplace safety and machine manufacturing is unfashionable, perhaps because Australia’s manufacturing capacity is in strong decline. And occupational health and safety (OHS) seems preoccupied at the moment with psychosocial hazards and wellness.  But one Australian researcher, Elizabeth Bluff, has undertaken an empirical study of safety attitudes, motivations and practice in the manufacturing and OHS regulatory sectors and produced a remarkable book that needs to be read by everyone involved with workplace health and safety.

Bluff writes

“In illuminating the mechanisms underlying manufacturers’ responses for machinery safety the research also makes wider conceptual and theoretical contributions.  It provides insights into knowledge and motivational factors as principal elements shaping firm performance for social and regulatory goals, and advances understanding of how these elements are constituted in the everyday operations of firms and their interactions with external actors.” (page 3)


OHS Professionals get, or want, global attention 2

Pages from INSHPO_2015-OHS_Professional_Capability_FrameworkThe International Network of Safety & Health Practitioner Organisations (INSHPO) has launched the “The OHS Professional
Capability Framework – A Global Framework for Practice“.  The document reflects many of the issues raised in recently published research on occupational health and safety (OHS) professionalism, accreditation and certification.  However there are a couple of useful issues to note, from a very brief review, that indicate a major step forward.

Professional, Practitioner, Generalist

Australian OHS professionals have felt insulted over the last few years by the use of the title “OHS Generalist”.  The proponents of this concept failed to understand that the term was divisive (and insulting to some) and this failure indicates a persistent problem in communicating change to the OHS profession in a manner that fosters cooperation.  The INSHPO document seems to drop the Generalist category so beloved by the Australian OHS Education Accreditation Board. More…

Bridging Health and Safety, a matter of urgency as well as good business sense? Reply

Susan Fleming, Managing Director of Acting Consulting Training Australia attended a breakfast seminar on November 10 2015 and has provided this guest post .

“We have been shouting about safety for some time and in contrast whispering about well-being and health in the workplace. We need to address this as a matter of urgency”

Perth breakfast seminar 101115Judith Hackitt, Chair of the UK Health and Safety Executive addressed the issue of University of Western Australia Centre For Safety (UWA Centre for Safety) breakfast on 10 November 2015.

In a prudent and well-programmed session, the UWA Centre for Safety inspired good debate about the business impact the well-being of employees is having on the workplace. More…

“Old” documents improve the context of modern OHS initiatives 6

cover of Professional Development Needs of Generalist OHS PractitionersSeveral long and involved phone conversations resulted from last week’s articles on Australia’s Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Body of Knowledge (BoK) and its role in accreditation of tertiary OHS courses.  It is worth looking at the origins of some of the issues behind the research on these safety initiatives.

One important document was published by the National OHS Commission (NOHSC, a forerunner of Safe Work Australia) in 1999 – “Professional Development Needs of Generalist OHS Practitioners“* .  This NOHSC document continues to be referenced in the continuing debates listed above and illustrates the need to understand our recent OHS past. More…

OHS formally enters professional sports 3

On November 9 2015, WorkSafe Victoria charged the Essendon Football Club with breaches of the occupational health and safety (OHS) law over its controversial supplements program. This blog has watched how the Australian Football League (AFL), in particular, has acknowledged its OHS obligations and duties.  This interest has been shared by Dr Eric Windholz who wrote about the charges today.

Windholz acknowledges that WorkSafe Victoria has established a formal presence in professional sports with its decision to prosecute.   More…