Marnie Williams, Executive Director of WorkSafe Victoria launched 2018 with a presentation at a breakfast seminar organised by the Safety Institute of Australia and hosted by Herbert Smith Freehills in Melbourne. Williams illustrated that WorkSafe is very aware of community and business expectations on her authority’s performance and showed WorkSafe is very busy as it restructures around its relocation to Geelong and elsewhere However it could change even more or in different, more sustainable, ways.
Williams’ presentation proposed a positive future where the actions and issues associated with occupational health and safety (OHS) broaden to involve the Victorian community and address safety and health concerns that may no longer fit within the established OHS definitions, approaches and strategies.
The annual Safety Institute of Australia (SIA) breakfast was held in conjunction with Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) law firm on 21 February 2018. This year the audience heard from two representatives of WorkSafe Victoria – Marnie Williams, the Executive Director and Paul Fowler, the Director of the Enforcement Group.
The WorkSafe presentations were interesting but included what was largely expected – an introduction to the recent Independent Review report and a reiteration of the WorkSafe Strategy 2030. (More on WorkSafe’s presentation in the next article)
Some of the more thought-provoking content came from HSF’s Steve Bell. He presented several issues and perspectives for consideration.
It is rare to find new designs in personal protective equipment (PPE). Trousers may have new pockets or padding. Helmets may have additional ventilation. Goggles have improved anti-fog holes. But rarely is PPE combined.
In 19 February 2018, Safe Work Australia (SWA) “launched” the independent review of Australia’s Work Health and Safety laws under former Executive Director of SafeWorkSA, Marie Boland. SWA has released a 49-page discussion paper, a summary and a list of questions. Below is an initial response to some of those questions.
What are your views on the effectiveness of the three-tiered approach – model WHS Act supported by model WHS Regulations and model WHS Codes – to achieve the object of the model WHS laws?
The structure works well, when business owners know of the relevant documents.
The latest push for Industrial Manslaughter laws in Australia has appeared as part of the Tasmanian state election.
The Tasmanian branch of the Australian Labor Party released its policy platform for jobs in February 2018 which makes specific and vague commitments on workplace safety which require scrutiny.
The Tasmanian Labor Leader, Rebecca White, states that
“Labor is committed to addressing casualisation and the outsourcing of work…”