This week Australia has been experiencing a safety roadshow built around the Deepwater Horizon movie and two guest speakers. The afternoon sessions have been well attended and the discussion fruitful but does the film improve the viewers’ understanding of safety or misrepresent it?
The current edition of SouthAsia magazine has a short report on occupational health and safety (OHS) in Bangladesh that illustrate the political and social challenges for workers and citizens in a country. The article, “Poor Workplace Safety” (not available online) states that government data for 2016 list more than 1,225 workers killed and over 500 injured. After these figures, and the fact that Bangladesh has a history of catastrophic workplace disasters, the author, Mohammad Waqar Bilal, states
“In fact, the issue of workers’ safety has never been considered by the government on a priority basis.”
Following the resignation of Andrew Puzder, President Trump has nominated Alexander Acosta to be the new Labor Secretary. The United States media, generally, has been supportive of the nomination particularly in comparison to Puzder. However, there was a particular line in the President’s media conference that may indicate his approach to safety legislation and regulations.
“We’ve directed the elimination of regulations that undermine manufacturing and call for expedited approval of the permits needed for America and American infrastructure and that means plant, equipment, roads, bridges, factories.” (emphasis added)
President Trump’s plans for cutting regulatory red tape was forecast during his election campaign when he stated that regulations:
“… just stopping businesses from growing.”
President Trump or his Labor Secretary nominees have not mentioned occupational health and safety (OHS) specifically but the
The South Australian Branch of the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) held a protest rally in Adelaide on 15 February 2017 in response to the political negotiations in Australia’s Parliament about the reintroduction of, what the union sees as, anti-union legislation. Throughout the rally’s presentations (available online through the CFMEU Facebook page), the issue of occupational health and safety (OHS) was raised and it is worth looking closely at what was said and the broader political and safety context.
The issues to be addressed in the protest rally included Senator Nick Xenophon’s “deal” with Prime Minister Turnbull that the CFMEU claims will:
- ” Make our workplaces less safe
- Put more overseas visa workers on our building sites
- Cut the number of apprentices in South Australia
- Threaten job security and increase casual jobs
- Fail to mandate Australian made products on construction sites”
After Joe McDonald opened the rally, the Secretary of the CFMEU SA, Aaron Cartledge (pictured above), spoke about how workers in South Australia had been dudded on safety because the health and safety representatives (HSRs) cannot call on external safety advisers to help them with an OHS matter. This may be the case but Cartledge’s comments illustrate a common perspective of trade unionists – a reluctance to consider safety management strategies other than those dependent on HSRs.
The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) is one of the most militant trade unions in Australia. That it angers many Australians by its strong support for its members is unarguable. Yet recently it has seemed to overstep the mark on its protest against the Australian Government’s introduction of legislation that the CFMEU sees…
Maryam Omari is an Associate Professor at Edith Cowan University and Dean of its School of Business and Law. She has worked in the Middle East, UK and USA and SafetyAtWorkBlog had a chance to ask her some workplace safety questions. Professor Omari has published several books with her latest being “Workplace Abuse, Incivility and Bullying: Methodological…
Australia Post features regularly in the mainstream press. Recently, the media and Government discussed the pay packet of its Chief Executive Officer, Ahmed Fahour, but a safety management issue has been bubbling along for some time and reappeared this morning in the Australian Financial Review (AFR) “Australia post investigated over alleged manipulation of injury rate for bonuses” ($paywall).
The AFR writes that
“Comcare is investigating Australia Post over allegations that some senior managers manipulated data on injured employees’ absences from work to meet key performance indicators and secure hefty bonuses.”
This is allegedly done by
- “delaying injury claims,
- recording workers on sick leave when they are really absent on injury, and
- paying for medical expenses in lieu of workers lodging compensation claims.”
I once had to stop a potential fight on a construction site between a works supervisor and a safety professional. The verbal abuse and niggling occurred for several minutes before the men’s chest were inflated like roosters and it was at this point I stepped in to diffuse the situation by asking some questions as…
Safety people love evidence, particularly evidence of hazards because evidence can validate what we thought we saw. Perhaps of more importance is evidence about what types of interventions work. A recent study into the prevention of workplace bullying (abstract only) held the promise of solutions, even though it was a literature review and of some…
Dr Marcus Cattani, is a Senior Lecturer in Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) within the School of Medical and Health Sciences at Edith Cowan University and a leading Australian OHS consultant. SafetyAtWorkBlog endeavoured to glimpse the person behind the qualifications by asking Dr Cattani some safety-related questions and he was kind enough to respond.
What attracted you to looking at workplace health and safety? Did you fall into it or always have an interest?
I was lucky enough to find out about WHS when I was around 20 years old, during my environmental science based college course. At that time, in the late 1980’s the trend for people finishing my course was to work in asbestos management or in Council environmental teams, neither of which really excited me!