Survey shows continuing increase in mobile phone use while driving Reply

The use of a mobile phone while driving can be very dangerous for other vehicles, pedestrians and drivers themselves.  New communications technology has been devised to accommodate the less-new technology of mobile phones but in itself hands-free technologies are masking the risk.

Although this hazard is across the driving community, there is particular relevance for workplace drivers as their status complicates the arguments against talking or texting while driving and provides additional control measures. More…

Comcare comments on quad bike advisory 1

Considerable discussion has resulted in the quad-bike safety fraternity following the blog article about Comcare’s safety alert on 22 January 2010.  Below is an official comment on the article.

“Comcare is aware that a number of organisations in the Federal jurisdiction use quad bikes and are concerned some may be using them inappropriately without necessarily understanding the risks. More…

Australia’s Comcare issues safety alert on quad bikes 8

On 22 January 2010 Comcare issued a safety alert concerning the use of quad bikes (available on the Comcare website from 25 January 2010):

“Employers who own and operate quad bikes should be aware of the hazards and potential safety risks.

Following some recent accidents while operating quad bikes, a draft Code of Practice is currently being developed by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries and Distributors [FCAI] relating to the ‘Use of All Terrain Vehicles in the Workplace’.

Heads of Workplace Safety Authorities (HWSA) has also formed a working party comprising of OHS Regulators and industry representatives to look at strategies to improve quad bike safety. More…

European OHS statistics show the way for other regions Reply

On 19 January 2010 EuroFound began the fieldwork necessary for the next in its series of surveys of working conditions in Europe.  According to the media release:

“Eurofound launches the fieldwork for the fifth European Working Conditions Survey, involving face-to-face interviews of workers in 34 European countries. This critical and timely research tracks the current state of working conditions in Europe, highlights the quality of work and employment, and monitors changing trends. The first findings of the survey will be presented at the end of 2010.”

The beginning of fieldwork is far less interesting than the end of the fieldwork but the announcement does remind us of the statistics that the organisation has been able to amass since 1991. More…

Another new Australian safety journal Reply

In November 2009, the Safety Institute of Australia published its first edition of its peer-reviewed journal.  At the time it was described as a good start.

Also in 2009, another safety-related peer-reviewed journal was released and this one has avoided some of the SIA journal’s shortcomings…. in a way.  For a small academic country this now makes three OHS journals.  The International Journal of Social Security and Workers Compensation (IJSSWC) is published by Curtin University’s School of Business Law and is only available online. More…

The risks in sedentary behaviour gain credence. 1

Further to the recent research and media blitz by Dr David Dunstan, the  British Journal of Sports Medicine reports on some similarly themed research from Sweden.

According to the BJSM

“Doctors from the Karolinska Institute and the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences in Stockholm, Sweden, say that the term “sedentary behaviour” has come to mean taking no exercise.

But it should be more correctly used to describe “muscular inactivity,” they say.

This is because recent research points to prolonged bouts of sitting and lack of whole body muscular movement as being strongly associated with obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and an overall higher risk of death, irrespective of whether moderate to vigorous exercise is taken.”

The journal mentions the Dunstan research and calls, like always, for more research into the issues which they are categorising as “inactivity physiology”. More…

Occupational injury statistics for France released Reply

France has released OHS statistics for 2007.  The document is currently only available in French.  My schoolboy French translation of the introduction says France is experiencing most workplace incidents in the construction industry. More…

Politics and safety in California Reply

Workplace safety, as is any legislation, is subjected to the political whims and decisions of whichever political party is in power at the time.  In Australia, John Howard’s conservative government almost halved the already meagre budget of the National OHS Commission, stopping many of the programs of national OHS uniformity that are now being resurrected by the Labor Government of Kevin Rudd.

On 14 January 2010 an investigative report into the operation of Cal-OSHA by KCET says that there was a marked change in the enforcement policies of Cal-OSHA shortly after the election of Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger as Governor of California. More…

Move your way to better health 1

Further to the recent posting on cardiovascular disease research, Dr David Dunstan participated in an online media briefing on 12 January 2010. (Video and audio interviews have begun to appear on line)

It is often difficult to identify control measures for workplace hazards from the raw research data.  Dr Dunstan, this morning elaborated on the possible workplace control measures that employers can design into workplaces in order to reduce the CVD risk from prolonged sedentary work.   More…

Sit down, get to work, get sick 3

Sitting for longer than four hours while watching television is likely to increase one’s risk of suffering a cardio-vascular disease (CVD), according to a new study reported in “Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association”  in January 2010.

David Dunstan

The research was headed by Dr David Dunstan, Head of the Physical Activity Laboratory in the Division of Metabolism and Obesity at the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Australia.  The study is Australian but can easily be transposed to other countries. (Several audio reports are now available online, one from NPR)

The significance for safety professionals comes not from the published report itself but the accompanying media release where Dr Dunstan speculates on the broader social issues behind his findings:

“What has happened is that a lot of the normal activities of daily living that involved standing up and moving the muscles in the body have been converted to sitting…  Technological, social, and economic changes mean that people don’t move their muscles as much as they used to – consequently the levels of energy expenditure as people go about their lives continue to shrink.   For many people, on a daily basis they simply shift from one chair to another – from the chair in the car to the chair in the office to the chair in front of the television.” More…