National OHS performance indicators needed 2

Since the release of the 2015 Citi report into the occupational health and safety (OHS) performance of the companies in the ASX200 stick exchange rankings, this blog has received many requests for a copy of the report to assist in the benchmarking of performance. Clearly performance indicators for OHS remain contentious and difficult but this does not need to be the case.

Citi’s recent report stated that key performance indicators (KPIs) should meet three needs:

  • “internal monitoring for continuous improvement to reduce incidents;
  • benchmarking and sharing lessons within the industry; and
  • transparent disclosure to stakeholders.”


Sedentary work research features at ergonomics conference Reply

The current International Ergonomics Congress in Melbourne seems to be successful in a number of ways:

  • The size and variety of its program
  • The quality of its keynote speakers
  • Out of 900 delegates, 600 are from outside Australia.

Where it seemed to be less successful was in its profile outside of the ergonomics profession. The information available, some identified on other blog articles, has relevance well beyond ergonomics and it is disappointing that the conference was not marketed more to the general occupational health and safety (OHS) profession. (It should have been possible to exceed 1000 delegates just from local promotion.) The OHS profession needs livening up and have its body of knowledge expanded to areas that both support and challenge its own principles and processes.

Sedentary Work

A major thread in the Congress was the issue of sedentary work, something discussed by the first day’s keynote speaker, Professor David Dunstan, of the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, who discussed research that found More…

Ergonomics conference provides good, free knowledge 1

The 19thTriennial Congress of the International Ergonomics Association (IEA 2015) is currently running in Melbourne Australia with 900 delegates, of which 600 are from outside Australia.  It offers a fascinating (online) library of ergonomic and occupational health and safety (OHS) research. Below is a sample of the research on offer picked, largely, at random.

It seems unnecessary to state that ergonomics is an essential part of the knowledge base of safety and production but ergonomics still seems to be a “dark art” to many.  This is acknowledged by many in the sector and is summarised well by Ruurd N. Pikaar More…

Penalty rates outweighs workplace bullying 2

The attention given to the recent draft report of the Productivity Commission’s (PC) inquiry into the Workplace Relations Framework has largely died down due to the dismissal of the report by Prime Minister, Tony Abbott.  The industrial relations (IR) elements of the report generally failed to fit the Government’s IR narrative but this did not stop the usual and, probably, pre-prepared media releases from the ideological opponents and supporters.  But did those media releases comment on the recommendations about workplace bullying? Almost entirely – No. So is workplace bullying a non-issue? More…

Leadership or cowardice? 3

Few would argue against the need for occupational health and safety (OHS) regulation for high-risk work but many are arguing against OHS laws on the basis of low-risk workplaces. It seems logical that low risk work should not require laws but perhaps the traditional definition of OHS and risk is colouring our judgement. Perhaps some are making these arguments because they are afraid to change. Perhaps some of these leaders are, in fact, cowards.

New Zealand

There is discussion in New Zealand currently about exempting small “low-risk” businesses from some OHS obligations in the name of “red tape” but also on the understanding that small business seems to equal low risk.  (Similar discussions, or changes, have occurred in the UK, Australia and the US) More…

Hackett bemoans fluffy OHS cost estimates Reply

The quest for accurate determination of the costs of poor occupational health and safety (OHS) has been a regular discussion point in this blog but the quest may be a never-ending one and ultimately pointless.

Recently the UK’s HSE Chairman, Judith Hackett took the Forum for Private Business (FPB) to task over estimates of OHS compliance costs.  FPB stated that

“The cost of compliance for the UK’s 1.2 million micro, small and medium sized businesses is £20 billion of actual costs and £41 billion if you include opportunity costs’.”

Hackett was unable to look at the claims as the FPB report was only for members.  This is a common marketing tactic where some information is released publicly in order to generate a demand which can be satisfied only with a membership or payment.  The downside of this tactic is that the carefully constructed statements become accepted as fact without allowing those facts to be independently verified. More…

PC report questions bullying processes 1

Cover of PC workplace-relations-draftAustralia’s Productivity Commission (PC) has released its draft report into the Workplace Relations Framework.  All morning talk radio has been discussion the issue of penalty rates but there are safety-related elements that should not be forgotten. Bullying is the most obvious of these.

The overview of the Draft Report hints that the level of resources required to administer the bullying provision in the Fair Work Commission (FWC) may be excessive given the tidal wave of applications did not eventuate. More…

Coronial findings and research – another step on the rocky road 8

cover of Final_Summary_Report4-QBPP_Test_Results_Concl_Recom_Jan-2015The final report into quadbike safety has finally been released by the University of New South Wales in a series of five papers and in the wake of Queensland coronial findings into nine quadbike-related deaths. (A New South Wales inquiry is currently underway)

It has been a rocky road to get to this report as a search of this blog will show but the recommendations are solid with many already being flagged by various safety regulators and others requiring much more consultation. The trick will be to accept the evidence and progress safety – not likely on the experience of the last four years. More…

Debate over OHS accreditation and professionalism remains messy 1

In May 2015, SafetyAtWorkBlog wrote an article about a research report that questioned the Safety Institute of Australia’s (SIA) push for certification of occupational health and safety(OHS) professionals and the accreditation of tertiary OHS courses. The article caused quite a stir and a lively dialogue. Pam Pryor of the Australian OHS Education Accreditation Board (AOHSEAB) provided a response to the research findings which did not seem to address, clearly, the points raised in the original article.  In a recent edition of the Journal of Health Safety and Environment, AOHSEAB’s Chair Emeritus Professor Mike Capra wrote a letter to the editor (not available online) to clarify and rebut.  The debate continues but does not necessarily progress. More…

Secrecy is hard to understand Reply

Scott picOver two months ago, SafetyAtWorkBlog sought basic and innocuous information from the office of Victoria’s Industrial Relations Minister, Robin Scott (pictured right at the Workers Memorial in April), about the MacKenzie review in to WorkSafe Victoria that was announced in February 2015. No response was received until 28 July.

A spokesperson for the Minister advised SafetyAtWorkBlog that all details of the review are Cabinet-in-Confidence and therefore cannot be released until Cabinet has discussed the review.  An update will be available when that occurs.

It seems odd that information, such as an inquiry’s terms of reference, should be so hush-hush.  More…