Recently a couple of media outlets referred to a report produced by Citi into workplace safety issues related to the top 100 companies on the Australian stock exchange. The report, seen by SafetyAtWorkBlog, “Safety Spotlight: ASX100 Companies & More” (not available online), provides a useful insight to the ASX100 companies’ safety performance but Citi also undertook several thematic analyses which are curious but not always as helpful as expected.
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Rosa Carrillo of Carrillo & Associates, describes herself as a “thought leader in transformational leadership for environment, safety and health” with a “unique understanding of safety culture and complex environments”. Prior to her attendance as a keynote speaker at the SIA National Convention in September SafetyAtWorkBlog was able to ask Rosa Carrillo about leadership, trust and communication.
Carrillo is aware of the risk of transferring concepts and practices rather than translating them and tailoring them to local needs. She told SafetyAtWorkBlog:
“I am afraid that one of my core principles is that you can’t just take what someone else did to address human behavior and implement it with “minimal translation” even if it was developed in your own country. You can certainly do that more readily with technology, but even then you must customize its introduction. Most leading edge thinkers in the safety field agree that benchmarking leads you down the rose garden path. You spend lots of money and feel you are doing the right thing until the next disaster emerges.”
Recently a reader brought to our attention a research report from Edith Cowan University that used SafetyAtWorkBlog as an important source of occupational health and safety (OHS) dialogue. “A ‘Once in a Generation Opportunity’? Narratives about the Potential Impact of OHS Harmonisation on Smaller Firms in Australia” by Rowena Barrett, Susanne Bahn, and Susan Mayson, illustrates, amongst many things, that social media can be a useful source of information for OHS research.
The main article referred to in the paper is one concerning lawyer Andrew Douglas with most attention given to the comments.
Barrett, Bahn and Mason have continued to research how OHS is seen by the small business sector in Australia. A more recent (2013) paper, available online, is called “The unmet promise of occupational health and safety harmonisation: continued complexity for small, multi-jurisdictional firms“.
In September 2015 Dr Matthew Hallowell will be speaking at the National Convention of the Safety Institute of Australia. Hallowell is a bit of an unknown to the Australian occupational health profession so SafetyAtWorkBlog posed a couple of questions to him as an introduction.
SAWB: Is it possible to establish trust and open communication in a company or industry sector, that has a fractious industrial relations relationship with trade unions?
MH: “This is a truly fundamental question to the industry that applies broadly to all project management functions, not just safety.
I think trust can be developed more easily in the context of safety (rather than productivity, for example) because safety involves altruism. I think trust is most dependent on the extent to which the various organizations on a project are willing, able, and encouraged to work together to solve a problem regardless of the contract structure.
In my opinion, integrated project delivery and design-build project delivery methods offer us a new opportunity to work together and build trust because there are more shared objectives and shared incentives.
The traditional lump-sum, design-bid-build contracting strategies with typical regulations around the world (e.g., OSHA that places safety responsibility solely on the contractors and subs), severely limits the opportunity to work together on any one goal.”
The Age newspaper’s front cover for 15 July 2015 was dominated by an article about happiness. The article is worth reading as it is built upon statistics from the long-term HILDA survey (Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia) that is used by many Australian researchers but, significantly, HILDA makes no reference to happiness. Various elements in the article relate to the workplace and work activity generally but a couple are of direct relevance to occupational health and safety.
“4. Be a workaholic
Work-life balance is overrated, the survey suggests. In fact, the more people work the better their health is. Employees can work more than 51 hours in paid work and 81 hours of total work (that’s more than 11 hours a day) without any detrimental effect on their wellbeing, according to the report.”
On 14 July 2015, Russell Kennedy lawyers published an article “10 better questions organisations should be asking about workplace bullying”. The article is a great example of the type of advice about workplace bullying that lawyers provide to companies. It is good advice but is limited by the legal process.
Here are my alternate, or complementary, 10 questions for an organisation to ask about workplace bullying, in no particular order: More…
Australian occupational health and safety (OHS) professional, Paul Breslin, is continuing his research into the use and application of the Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) in the construction industry. His latest paper, recently published in the Journal of Health, Safety and Environment (subscription only) asks an important question:
“If administrative controls are one of the lowest levels of control measures under the hierarchy of control, why has the Safe Work Method Statement become a central element in ensuring safety in the Australian construction industry?”
Breslin’s article title summarises the frustration of many OHS professionals where safety relies on lower order controls of the Hierarchy of Control, such as the administrative controls like SWMS. More…
After reading this morning’s article on mental health costings, a vigilant reader has suggested an alternative source for the $A11 billion cost figure. It is also a report about which this blog raised serious questions when the report was released in May 2014. The “new” report seems to confirm the concerns in this morning’s article over needing to dig to find the original data sources of workplace hazards. More…
Consulting firm Deloittes recently announced the merging of its occupational health and safety (OHS) and sustainability sectors in order to provide better customer services. In the article Deloittes says about the importance of workplace mental health:
“Given that one in six working age Australians live with mental illness including depression, that is costing Australian businesses at least $11 billion dollars each year, this is a growing area“.
But the source of this statement is unclear and this lack of clarity may be contributing to some of the inexactitudes in the mental health/wellbeing debate. More…
Part of the core duties of any occupational health and safety (OHS) regulator is the production of data. Recently Safe Work Australia (SWA) released its “Key Work Health and Safety Statistics” for 2015 and given the amount of media attention on workplace mental health, one would expect mental health to be one of the key statistics. It’s not.
In fact mental health is referenced only once in the document on page 28. The table states that for the decade of 2000-2001 to 2010-2011
“mental disorders…did not display a clear overall trend of increase or decrease”.
This is significant in the context of workplace mental health reporting. Is the reported increase in workplace mental health a myth? Safe Work Australia’s statistics seems to support this. More…