The Australian OHS regulators struggle each year to make their annual safety week events last beyond the nominated week, the events and the newspaper advertisements. Queensland’s Workplace Health & Safety (WHSQ) has released two short films focussing on workplace incidents.
The McGuane film provides a chronology of Gavan McGuane going to work for 30 minutes and remaining in hospital with serious facial and eyesight problems for over 50 days.
There are telling comments from the McGuane family and his doctor about the personal cost of this workplace injury. As a member of a family with a blind father, I am aware of what children miss out on but my father’s blindness is a genetic defect. Traumatic blindness generates a much short period of life adjustment than what my family could consider, in comparison, a luxury.
WHSQ is allocated several minutes to discover McGuane’s incident but, thankfully, the “script” is controlled so that the film does not become a bland training video. The film is essentially Gavan McGuane’s story.
OHS regulators need to consider producing information that has a longer term benefit. Awards have their place but they are a big cost item, in most States, with limited return. In the past a special awards nights may have been sufficient but many of these nights have lasted for well over 10 years and should be considered an accumulation of solutions rather than in isolation each year.
SafetyAtWorkBlog has discussed awards nights and promotional strategies in the past but no one seems to be taking the initiative to plan for next ten years. Harmonised laws are on the federal agenda but not harmonised OHS strategies.
It seems to be a coincidence that Australia’s 2010 Safe Work Australia Week coincides with the European Week for Safety and Health at Work. Is it too much to expect safety advocates and regulators on opposite sides of the world to see the potential benefits to all from beginning to coordinate for an international week of safety? Does anyone else see how effective such a week in each October could be as a counterpoint to the International Day of Mourning in April? Positive in October, commemorative in April. The yin and yang of workplace safety.
Note: Kevin Jones is a Safety Ambassador for Safe Work Australia Week for 2010.