Last week I mentioned two work-related films at the Melbourne International Film Festival. Tomorrow’s Castlemaine Documentary Film Festival is screening Happy Sad Man a film about the mental health of Australian men. There is an overlap with work-related mental health, especially farmers, so I’ve bought my ticket.
SafetyAtWorkBlog believes the fact that commercial vehicles are also workplaces remains under-utilised in Australia. There are hints that this position is shared by others and that the analysis of occupational health and safety (OHS) in the transport sector is maturing. An Issues Paper released in May 2019 by the Productivity Commission (PC) as party of the review of the 2009 National Transport Regulatory Reform program looks at potential safety outcomes.
In each of the sectors within the reform program – heavy vehicles, rail and maritime – safety improvements, enhancements and improvements were expected. The PC accepts the multidisciplinary and multi-factorial elements of OHS:
“…. the national laws and regulators are only one influence on safety outcomes. The multiplicity of influences on safety outcomes raises challenges for measurement of the contribution of the national system to any changes in safety outcomes since the system was introduced. The Commission envisages that the direct net benefits from safety related reforms must be assessed by the use of simple methods such as benchmarking (including to other countries) and other descriptive analyses. For example, Hassall (2014) estimates the accident rate (broken down by accident severity) per 100 million kilometres.”page 12
(Given that the PC has a separate inquiry into mental health, it will be interesting to see if this perspective is consistent across different sectors)
Recently the Medical Journal of Australia published new guidelines for general practitioners (GPs) on how to identify work-related mental health conditions (MHC). This is vital information as GPs are often the first opportunity where mental health conditions can be identified or confirmed. It also assists occupational health and safety (OHS) professionals by acknowledging the role of work in the positive and negative mental health of workers.
Documents related to the development and implementation of Industrial Manslaughter laws in Victoria and seen by SafetyAtWorkBlog say that the Department of Justice and Community Services will draft a policy paper on the laws prior to the proposed Industrial Manslaughter Bill being presented to Parliament in October or November. October’s Work Health and Safety Month promises to be lively this year.
Participants in the Workplace Fatalities and Serious Incidents Reference Group had expressed concerns about the phoenixing of companies after a workplace fatality and that workplaces where deaths have occurred should be treated as a crime scene that:
“…should not be operational until a full investigation is complete”
There are a few occupational health and safety (OHS) matters in Australia that happened in the last week that are of note. SafetyAtWorkBlog has put together a quick list of those matters of interest.
Big Mental Health Challenge
“The Australian Capital Territory has appointed its first “dedicated psychological health officer [who] will equip workplaces with the tools and resources needed to support the social and emotional wellbeing of working Canberrans.
The psychological health officer will provide employees, managers and supervisors with support such as information sessions, accessible resources and training programs. WorkSafe ACT inspectors will also receive training and access to ongoing mentoring for responding to psychological hazards.”