Focus on safety rather than the Standard

Recently the Safety Institute of Australia (SIA) published an opinion piece about the new international Standard for Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems, ISO45001.  The article professed to answer the question “what does ISO 45001 mean for OHS professionals?” Below is the SafetyAtWorkBlog’s response to that question based on the points raised by the SIA.

The SIA’s Roland Tan states that ISO45001

“provides an opportunity to benchmark with global best practice in managing OHS risks and initiate opportunities to improve OHS performance.”

Australian OHS professionals need to ask whether their clients need to benchmark globally. If not, how is ISO45001 relevant?  It is not.  You would be wasting everyone’s time.

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OHS outcomes of ACTU Congress 2018

Below is the list of occupational health and safety (OHS) issues for the next three years, put to the Australian Council of Trade Unions and passed, at its Congress on 18 July 2018.  Some were expected but others will cause concern, primarily, for business owners.  Perhaps the major concern is that these commitments are to be rolled out nationally.

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New President and new approaches to unionism

ACTU Executive with Michele O’Neil second from left

Day One of the Australian Council of Trade Unions’ Congress was memorable for a couple of reasons.  The appointment of Michele O’Neil, pictured right, as the President was a notable achievement, one made more memorable as she denied any desire to move onto a political appointment. The other memorable event was a string of shopfloor representatives outlining their innovative approaches to the recruitment of members and the creation of (sub)unions for hospitality workers, hairdressers and indigenous workers in the Northern Territory.

Workplace safety was mentioned a couple of times in passing but occupational health and safety (OHS) seems to becoming more a thing that is, rather than a thing that is named.  If we look for it, we find it.

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Trade unions need to look for change beyond legislation

Danny Glover addressing the ACTU Congress on July 16 2018

The 2018 Congress of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACT) is happening in the middle of a campaign to “Change the Rules”.  These “Rules” are largely concerning with industrial relations, of which Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) is a subset, or complementary, element. Legislation constantly needs challenging and review; much legislation, like Australian Standards, misses their expiry dates and persists too long,  becoming increasingly seen as irrelevant.

OHS has the “luxury” of having been reviewed nationally within the last decade.  For some Australian States this change was progressive but for most it was a catch up to contemporary standards and expectations.  OHS laws have not progressed since and a lot of hope is placed on the current Independent Review of Work Health and Safety (WHS) laws to enliven the discussions, yet that report is not due until 2019.

Trade unions have a great deal of faith in legislation to achieve change.  

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ACTU Congress update

Registration has been completed for the triennial Congress of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU).  Drinks tonight, presentations tomorrow.

I will provide as much information as I can but the Congress has placed some limitations on media representatives, all 15 of us,  as they are entitled to, but……..

The opening reception this evening will have actor

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