HWSA on psychological health at work

The Heads of Workplace Safety Authorities (HWSA) is a strange concoction. It operates separately from Safe Work Australia but has some overlapping memberships. According to SWA, HWSA:

“is made up of representatives from work health and safety regulators across Australia and New Zealand. They work together to promote and implement best practice in work health and safety in the areas of policy and legislative matters, education and enforcement. Our CEO attends HWSA meetings as an observer.”

In March this year, SafetyAtWorkBlog put some questions to HWSA about psychological risks in the workplace, a topic that has heated up over the last couple of years. The intention was to obtain an idea about HWSA’s “best practice” perspective. The responses were okay but limited, as one can see below.

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Australia’s mental health industry is in transition

Dr Ian Hickie is a well-respected and knowledgeable advocate of mental health. His CV shows extensive experience in this area since the 1980s. Recently Dr Hickie spoke to the Australian Financial Review about EY’s announcement of a review into its workplace culture following the death by suicide of one of EY’s employees at their offices. The article (paywalled) seems to show a change in traditional approaches to mental health in workplaces, but the change needs to be much more significant and broader.

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Pressure on local government over procurement and OHS

On a chilly night in Ballarat, over a hundred people gathered outside the Town Hall, within which the City Council was meeting, to let the Council know that the awarding of millions of dollars of ratepayers’ money to a local company that admitted to breaching occupational health and safety (OHS) laws and that led to the deaths of two local workers was not acceptable.

The event seem coordinated by the local Trades Hall Council, for the usual inflatable rat and fat cat were next to the ute, which was blasting out protest songs. Almost all the speakers were trade unionists, although one was Andy Meddick from the Animal Justice Party. The protest may not have achieved the changes that many speakers called for, but as is the case with these types of events, Council has given some ground with a likely review of the OHS procurement criteria.

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60th Anniversary Central Safety Group Lunch

In the olden days, PC (Pre-Covid), a group of occupational health and safety (OHS) professionals, advocates, and the curious, would meet on the second Tuesday of each month in-person in various locations in and around the City of Melbourne to connect, chat, complain, sympathise and learn about OHS. The Central Safety Group also held annual visits to infrastructure projects under construction, tea factories, TV stations (pictured above), Arts Centres (pictured below), brothels (no pictures taken) and other workplaces to better understand the complexity of managing people’s safety and health.

In the middle of Work Health and Safety Month, CSG is holding a special celebratory lunch in the Victorian Parliament House Dining Room on October 14. (Book HERE) This event is open to anyone interested in all facets of OHS and will have special guest speakers, including:

The Central Safety Group has been operating continuously for 60 years, making friends, making connections, rendering assistance and, for every one of those meetings, hearing directly from local and international experts. The CSG is open to anyone on a casual basis, but, of course, a (low-cost) membership is encouraged.

Kevin Jones

Industrial Manslaughter and marketing

Industrial Manslaughter was always going to generate some workplace safety marketing at some point. In this week’s Australian Financial Review (23 September 2022, page 23, paywalled), Inspectivity paid for a full-page advertorial promoting its data collection and analysis products. It mentioned that its products could help to reduce the risk of being prosecuted for Industrial Manslaughter. But what does this say about one’s customers and their attitude to providing safe and healthy workplaces if the avoidance of personal accountability is the ”hook” for the sale?

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Australia’s mining sector can avoid becoming the next institutional pariah

Around a decade ago, parts of the Australian rail construction industry introduced the Pegasus Card. The intent was to have a single portal through which a worker’s competencies and eligibility to work could be verified. It evolved into the Rail Industry Worker Card in existence today. Pegasus remains in parts of the mining sector.

I was reminded of the Pegasus Card when I read the recent West Australian report into sexual harassment in the mining sector, Enough is Enough. One of its recommendations, Number 3, was that:

“The industry must explore ways to prevent perpetrators of serious sexual harassment simply finding reemployment on other sites and in other companies. This should involve:
– thorough exploration of an industry-wide workers’ register or other mechanism such as industry-wide accreditation, taking into account natural justice considerations and perhaps modelled on the Working With Children Card;…..

“industry-wide workers’ register”? Isn’t that what the Pegasus card helps to manage?

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SafetyAtWorkBlog “tip-off” line

SafetyAtWorkBlog occasionally receives confidential documents and phone calls about workplace health and safety incidents, investigations and reports. It is time that this process was given some formality in order to encourage transparency on issues while, if necessary, preserving anonymity. To achieve this aim, a “tip-off” line has been created by SafetyAtWorkBlog using the Whispli whistleblowing platform.

If you have some information related to workplace health and safety that you think would be of interest to SafetyAtWorkBlog readers, please let me know by clicking this gateway and establishing an anonymous account.

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