Yes, No or N/A?

Recently, SafeWorkNSW launched a health and safety campaign for those who provide services in people’s homes, essentially Home Care providers.  The message is good and simple, but this article is less about the campaign than the risk assessment and checklist forms they promote.

Many checklists expect a Yes/No answer but fail to ask a question.  SafeWorkNSW’s Home Safety Risk Assessment is an example of this problem.

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Sentencing and OHS prosecutions but few solutions

Most submissions to the inquiry into Sentencing Occupational Health and Safety Offences in Victoria are now publicly available.  They raise a lot of different issues and some grumbles even though the Sentencing Advisory Council provided some structure to the topics it wanted addressed.

A major purpose of any penalty is to deter harmful and damaging actions from being repeated.  SAC reiterates that any sentence 

  • deters the offender and others from committing similar offences;
  • punishes the offender in a just manner;
  • facilitates the rehabilitation of the offender;
  • denounces the behaviour that the offender engaged in, and
  • protects the community from the offender. (page 7)

The CFMEU’s Dr Gerry Ayers opens his submission with Deterrence by quoting Gunningham and Johnstone from 1999, who wrote:

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Keep away from Leadership and start to progress

Lately I have been thinking a lot about Leadership and how it dominates, and unchallenged, how occupational health and safety is managed in Australia. Of the three OHS/business books I bought this week, one included a page about Leadership and how we should move away from it.

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New perspectives can perpetuate the old

An article garnering some attention on LinkedIn (Yeah, I know, the Facebook for corporate self-promotion) has called for a different path to reducing occupational health and safety injuries. “A new view of safety culture measurement” is written by safe365’s cofounder Nathan Hight. As with most articles on the Internet, the primary aim is marketing or selling (this blog is a good example); in this case he is promoting an upcoming webinar. He writes:

“In order to quantify and manage the impacts of behaviour and attitudinal-based attributes in safety, we need a more consistent approach to both the primary measurement, but also the ongoing assessment of progress and performance.”

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The Human Rights of workers strengthens

Work health and safety is a fundamental human right. Last year, I asked “so what?” Australia is strengthening the relevance of this international human right at the local level, but you wouldn’t notice unless you looked hard.

The federal government’s Joint Standing Committee on Treaties has been receiving public submissions on the ratification of ILO Conventions 191 and 187. It’s such a hot topic that it received only two submissions!!; neither opposed the ratification, but they provide some useful context to the aims of occupational health and safety (OHS) in Australia.

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The OHS context is almost missed as EAP bodies scrap

The increased interest in preventing and managing psychosocial hazards at work should draw more attention to a service that many employers rely on to handle this issue: Employee Assistance Providers (EAPs).

Recently, The Age newspaper ran an article called “Employers spruik workplace wellbeing services. But who is picking up the phone?” (paywalled). The hard copy article was “Doubts raised on workplace wellbeing services”. Both articles reported on EAP services that are not always being provided by qualified clinical psychologists, as these services used to be.

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Is the Psych Health and Safety Conference worth attending?

Recently, Sydney, Australia, experienced the inaugural Psych Health and Safety conference managed by Flourishdx, a prominent Australian consultancy that identifies and helps companies manage psychosocial hazards at work. There were around 400 delegates in person and online. The conference was a gamble for Flourishdx, and it largely paid off, but contrary to some of the overly effusive posts on LinkedIn, it was a curious beast.

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