Expect quite a few OHS statements coming from Australian politicians as the country approaches Safe Work Australia Week in late October 2009.
On 16 September 2009, the Queensland Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations, Cameron Dick, sought support for a
“…groundbreaking new program to reduce workplace deaths and injuries.”
Groundbreaking? Not sure. Perhaps for Queensland.
According to his media statement the “Zero Harm at Work ” program “aims to reduce the shocking number of deaths and injuries in Queensland workplaces.” Dick goes on to say
“Ensuring safety in the workplace is one of the most important challenges facing industry in Queensland… Every year around 100 Queenslanders are killed at work and 30,000 people suffer serious injuries or work related diseases. The cost to our State of these tragic deaths and injuries is more than $5 billion a year. And worst of all, mums, dads, husbands, wives and children are left mourning the family member that never came home from work.”
Dick hits the right targets in the media statement but does safety leadership, particularly these types of programs, stop incidents from occurring in the workplaces?
Or is the effect of these programs to have senior executives feel that they are reducing injuries because they are talking about safety?
SafetyAtWorkBlog has long believed that safety awareness does not necessarily equal the reduction of workplace injury and illness. “Zero Harm” cannot be achieved without financial cost and it is unclear whether industry is willing to invest the amount of money required to genuinely achieve this aim.
But then if “zero harm” is only a goal, an aspiration, then it doesn’t matter if it is not achieved “at least we tried”. (Or the total cynic would say “at least the voters saw that we tried”)
There are sure to be more such statements and launches in the next six weeks. SafetyAtWorkBlog will be looking for evidence not aspirations.