Impediments for OHS enforcement

In  letter published in the October 2011 edition of the American Historical Review (page 1257, and not available without a subscription [I got there through EBSCOHost]), Donald Rogers responded to a review of his book Making Capitalism Safe.  He said that

“Quoting reformers, the book argues that OSHA had truly “radical” potential to raise work safety standards and address previously neglected health hazards, but adds that OSHA’s promise “crumbled in the conservative political reorientation of the 1970s,” largely due to narrow court decisions, weak state cooperation, and drastic funding cuts during the Reagan years (pp. 175, 181)”.

Two out of those disappointments – “conservative political reorientation” and “weak state cooperation” – should sound familiar to those Australian safety professionals involved with OHS harmonisation.

Kevin Jones

reservoir, victoria, australia
Categories government, law, OHS, politics, safetyTags , , , , ,

3 thoughts on “Impediments for OHS enforcement”

  1. We all know the issues in terms of cost savings in the compensation side of the equation, or should know. Workers being directly penalised monetarily from the minute their claim is accepted, or earlier.

    It would seem that now the CEO of Workcover SA is importing policy from his time heading up NSW’s compensation system by attacking the “small business community” by increasing levy’s through stealth (reduction of the payroll value at the point of higher levy application.)

    There are two issues in my mind the, the first being the woeful application of law and regulation allowing unsafe workplaces to flourish and the appalling management of the workers compensation system that has allowed the systems in both NSW and SA to become such a financial nightmare, that the only way forward the management can see is to keep penalising others for their own inexcusable performance.

    I suggest that the responsible ministers should replace their boards of management and CEO’s now and immediately join the enforcement arm and the compensation arm into one department so that real and transparent progress can be made in injury and cost reduction. (oversight by a permanent parliamentary committee with adequately qualified investigatory staff attached, reporting every six months against set criteria should assist in keeping management honest)

    Pretty much all the statistics produced to date by the OHSW authorities have been massaged, re named and spun so as to have no place in reality and therefore, cannot be relied upon for decision making of any consequence.

    Australia’s workers and employers who are doing the right thing deserve a better deal.

  2. I believe there has been a lot of failure in communicating to people , we can say are a bit drier ,I think the course to be followed is to present the case for ohs not in human terms that some people dont empathise with but with an analytical approach involving actual money spent from lost time injuries, insurance costs , productivity loss ,retraining etc ,etc ,further if companies then had to report to shareholders costs from injuries to employees and contractors ,shareholders would ask questions ,if a demonstrated well documented brief on the actual financial cost of workplace practices causing workplace injuries was properly presented as causing loss of business competitiveness and financial loss to the country it I believe would start some changes .

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