This weekend in a SafetyAtWorkBlog comment, Simon Berglund posted a commercial link to an Australian Standard on the installation of insulation. In his comment he did not reveal his commercial interest in posting the comment and I apologise for allowing it to be posted.
Simon Berglund is the “Director, Sales & Marketing – Information Services (Asia Pacific) at SAI Global” and I was not aware of this before approving his comment. His comment has now been deleted.
SafetyAtWorkBlog believes it is important to apply the appropriate standards to any workplace task and it may be the case that the Australian Standard Berglund linked to (AS 3999-1992) is the right document. But the action illustrates several major obstacles in the practical application of OHS in Australia:
Australian Standards that relate to safe work practices should be free. If not to all companies, at least to the small business sector – the sector most in need of OHS advice.
Australian Standards are only guidelines (unless “empowered” by reference in legislation) and need to be seen as such. If Australian Standards are seen as OHS gospel then we have a compliance culture and not necessarily a safety culture.
The Standard referred (AS 3999-1992) to is over 18 years old. Maintaining a currency of OHS standards is a major problem for Standards Australia and they will never catchup to the extent required. A new way of establishing safe work standards needs to be developed.
Lastly, SafetyAtWorkBlog has a philosophy or avoiding linking to safety documents that are not freely available. Readers are encouraged to search on the internet for any alternative OHS documents that are more current and more freely available. Or there may be a library or other information resource that can be called upon for a similar level of OHS information.
In the case of insulation installation there are several documents that have been released by the Queensland Government, or with its support, on the OHS issues associated with installing insulation. It is strongly recommended that you consider this link to the Electrical Safety Office as a start before paying out for a document that is only a guideline, is over 10 years old and costs around $A60 upfront.