Kevin Jones

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Kevin Jones with family in Paris 2012

I thought I might follow Wade Needham’s reflections and thoughts with my own. Indulgent? Maybe.

How did you get into Health & Safety?

My first contact with workplace health and safety was as an Administrative Officer in the Victorian Department of Labour in the late 1980s before moving to the Occupational Health and Safety Authority, the precursor to WorkSafe Victoria, in the early 1990s.  I worked in the Major Hazards Branch and was involved in preparing options for the relocation of the Coode Island chemical storage facility before it exploded.

What drives you?

The Health and Safety profession has been notoriously shy in expressing opinions for many reasons including timidity, insecurity and laziness.  This reluctance has contributed to the dominant perspective of H&S as a business nuisance rather than a profitable aid to business.  My frustration with this caused me to write and speak about H&S as an unavoidable and legitimate element of business.

Continue reading “Kevin Jones”

Good progress, but………

The Australian Government is starting to address the silicosis risk associated with engineered stone. The Health Minister, Greg Hunt, has said in a media release on January 23 2020 that the government will accept all five recommendations of the interim advice of the National Dust Disease Taskforce. However, some of these seem half-hearted and some actions will take a long time, which does not necessarily help those workers currently at risk.

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Avoid government interference, get in first

In occupational health and safety (OHS), there is evidence and then there is evidence. Regardless of the type of evidence, there is not as much as there should be. Many companies and organisations in Australia are required to publicly release annual reports that identify their financial status. Increasingly non-financial criteria, like OHS performance, is being included in these reports but why isn’t this mandatory and why isn’t it of a consistent type? Late on 2019, the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) looked at the issue of OHS reporting, with some assistance from EY.

ACSI’s CEO, Louise Davidson illustrates the problem in her Foreword to the report:

“Almost one third of ASX200 companies provide their investors and other stakeholders no information on health and safety performance. For the companies that do provide some information, the disclosure often provides no insight into how many severe incidents occurred…….”

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Everything you think you know about safety boots may be wrong

Source: istockphoto.com

SafetyAtWorkBlog reader Tony wrote a long comment on safety footwear in response to a blog article from 2016. The comment deserves its own post, below.

Hi Kevin – arriving at this conversation incredibly late (though ‘better late than never’, as I believe someone once intoned), but there’s a decent reason I’m now invested in the conversation.

I recently spent an interesting hour or so with a sports podiatrist discussing, as you would suspect, footwear. More specifically, we talked about footwear to suite workers who spend the bulk of their time outdoors, working and walking on innumerable forms of uneven surfaces. And more specifically again, we discussed the degree(s) of ankle protection that, evidently, high-cut boots are able to provide.

But…

One of the take-home messages I took was the (apparent) absence of data to support the continued promotion of ‘high-cut’ footwear, when it comes to trying to provide ankle protection.

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Take a good hard look at your business and do something about it

The Medical Journal of Australia (MJA) published an opinion piece on January 20, 2020 concerning working hours in the medical profession and the risk of mental health and suicide from working excessive hours. It uses the Japanese problem of “karoshi” to illustrate the severity of the workplace risks but it misses a couple of points.

It references the amendments to Victoria’s Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) legislation that introduced an offence of Industrial Manslaughter but implies that this amendment changes the duty of care expected of employers and changes a worker’s right to a safe and healthy workplace.

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