Podcast on WHS colloquium

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Yesterday the Centre for Work Heath and Safety held its first colloquium of occupational health and safety researchers. It comprised of 15 research presentations, a keynote speaker and a workshop about the 2023 World Congress for Safety and Health at Work to be held in Sydney, Australia.

SafetyAtWorkBlog was lucky to attend and will be writing at least one article about the event for subscribers soon, but I was also able to speak with the Centre’s Director, Skye Buatava, about the event. The audio is available through the links below

https://www.podbean.com/eu/pb-52min-bb8123

https://soundcloud.com/safetyatworkblog/safety-at-work-talks-episode-15

Kevin Jones

The Interconnectedness Challenge

The solutions to most occupational health and safety (OHS) issues are multidisciplinary meaning that solutions are rarely simple and rarely come from a single source of information or knowledge. Recently I have been challenging my colleagues to spread their voices and experience beyond their own disciplines to illustrate how a worker’s health and safety is affected by a broad range of hazards and environments. I extend that challenge to all organisations including employer and industry groups like the Business Council of Australia (BCA) which has recently released a report on “The state of enterprise bargaining in Australia”.

Many organisations undertake research into different elements of work but rarely take an overall perspective, or one that analyses the interconnection of societal and occupational conditions and pressures. The latest BCA report is one example

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Interesting but not representative

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) released the results of its latest occupational health and safety (OHS) survey. In past surveys respondents have been trade union members. This survey was opened to non-union members, but to what extent is unclear but this has not stopped the ACTU speaking of the respondents as workers rather than workers who are all union members.

This differentiation is important. In the 1990s when union membership was much larger, the argument that the survey results were representative of Australia’s workforce was stronger although still debatable. Representation is harder to claim now with union membership being well below 20% overall and below 10% in the private sector.

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Vale Allison Milner

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I am very sad tonight to write about the death today of prominent researcher, academic and lovely person, Allison Milner. Her work was vitally important to broadening our understanding of psychological health at work and suicides. Her research and perspectives were fresh and innovative.

Less than a month ago I spoke with Allison at a Suicide Prevention Conference. She was generous in her support of my work, knowing that this blog was a useful platform for spreading the awareness of her work.

My deepest sympathy goes to her husband and children.

Kevin Jones

Pimp your administrative controls

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Safety risks increased, or created, by distraction are a problem as relevant to occupational health and safety (OHS) as it is across society. There are analogue solutions – remove the distracting devices – and technological solutions that are often embedded in the distracting device. Sometimes there are other solutions and one is being trialled at a small intersection in Melbourne.

These illuminated tactile pavers have been embedded in the footpath applying the logic that as people are looking down at their phone screens, a bright contrasting floor level background should attract their attention. These footpath lights are synchronised with the pedestrian traffic lights, basically bringing the traffic signals within the peripheral vision of pedestrians.

Several variations on this concept have been trialled around the world for traffic and pedestrian control but they may be more usefully applied in some workplaces, especially where passive hazard signs have become normalised.

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