HesaMag should be obligatory reading for all OHS professionals, not just those in Europe. The editorial in the most recent edition (9 and not yet on line) is a great example of the value of this free magazine. It critically discusses the upcoming International Workers’ Memorial Day and its significance.
It asks for everyone to enact the commitment shown on each April 28 to every other day of the year. It says:
“Let’s not be taken in by the false sentiment on 28 April, but demand a clear and detailed accounting”
It asks why EU OHS legislation has been so slow to appear or be revised but equally, in Australia, questions should be asked about the status (failure in my opinion) of WHS harmonisaton, the lack of attention to the causes of workplace mental illness, the status of workplace bullying claims in the Fair Work Commission, the lack of attention to heavy vehicle OHS matters by the safety profession and the insidious encroachment of the perception of OHS as a failure of the individual rather than a failure in the system of work.
The Memorial Day is organised by the trade union movement and, as such, there are many who are disinclined to attend. But this should not be the reality. OHS professionals and regulators need to face the truth of their profession by meeting and hearing from the widows and families of those who have died at work.
The significance of OHS and its political and economic context needs to be embraced by the OHS profession and its associations. The editorial says that
“Those who have wealth live longer and in much better health than those who produce it [and that] deregulation policies are deepening those inequalities”.
The HesaMag editorial also says:
“Health and safety at work is a less visible but more fundamental bone of contention than pay because it challenges the employers’ power to determine work organisation, choose production processes and substances, use contingent and outsourced labour.”
OHS has more moral weight than wages and salaries but safety professionals seem to choose not to wield that weight. The current Royal Commission into Home Insulation is an example of how economics at the highest level of the Australian government sacrificed safety for a political and economic imperative determined by Prime Minister and his executive.
Many profess that OHS needs leadership to change and improve but more can be learnt through the failure of leadership. Failure may be a lag indicator but it is one that everyone has experienced and most have learnt from. Each death mourned on April 28 is a failure from which we all must learn.