SafetyAtWorkBlog’s most popular articles of 2015

SafetyAtWorkBlog has had a successful 2015, consolidating itself as a valid independent voice on workplace health and safety, particularly in Australia. But readers don’t get access to some of the statistics for the site and as a year in review exercise below are the top five most-read articles written in 2015, highest readership first:

Impairment argument fails to convince Fair Work Commission over unfair dismissal

WorkSafe Victoria heads roll

Research raises serious questions on SIA’s certification push

Some are losing faith in the Victorian Workcover Authority 

Safety learnings from construction

Time does affect readerships statistics more readers for articles written early in the year but, so what..

Impairment

The issue of impairment continues as an OHS matter but still struggles to gain traction in the OHS sector and the media generally.  In some ways this issue has been muddied by the continuing attention being given to mental health and its bastard child, wellbeing.  Impairment will remain to be seen as an issue for the individual to control until additional (sound) research is produced to clearly identify organisational causes of ill-health, distraction, fatigue and other impairment factors.

WorkSafe

WorkSafe Victoria started 2015 in a rocky situation.  A Labour Government was elected and its members had not been happy with how WorkSafe had been performing or managing over several years previously.  A major political sticking point was the then Minister’s lack of interest in engaging in tripartite discussion on OHS matters.  This unwillingness was reflected by the WorkSafe executive.  Given that the Labour Party is very union-friendly, everyone knew changes were going to be made.

The Premier, Daniel Andrews, took a botched investigation of the Country Fire Authority’s Fiskville facility as the reason for the sacking of the CEO and the Chair.  The dismissal was brutal.

Since then WorkSafe has been rebuilding its executive team under the leadership of Marnie Williams. Her appointed was received well by stakeholders but particularly by many WorkSafe employees as Williams was a long time employee of WorkSafe and has a sound corporate knowledge of the organisation.

Safety Institute

The Safety Institute of Australia (SIA) continues to rebuild its reputation, its structure and its finances after a disastrous period of bitter infighting, legal disputes, and member suspensions.  Part of that process has been to offer certification to OHS professionals.  This process has been woefully communicated, primarily, because the certification process was still not clearly understood by the SIA.  Some of the spokespeople made outrageous statements that confused the highly suspicious membership.  This process settled down in 2015 and certified professionals have been appearing.  The acceptance by industry remains a work in progress.

An indication of the SIA’s change has been its willingness to engage in debate rather than send legal cease-and-desist letters.  Recently the SIA’s CEO expressed an opinion that the organisation needs to engage with its critics and its disaffected.  This positive move is a vital way of avoiding the group think of the out-of-touch elite.

Faith

Part of Marnie Williams’ role as an Executive Director will be to re-engage with many of its traditional supports, such as the Creative Ministry Network, which itself has undergone difficult times with a change in the executive and financial struggles.  2015 has seen much media attention on the workplace and safety exploitation of vulnerable and insecure workers.  The post-injury issues are less frequently discussed as, outside of workers compensation (if it is applied for and received), the welfare of injured workers relies largely on families and community support groups such as GriefWork.

Compensation is a financial process but it does not have to be heartless.

Safety Lessons

I was personally pleased that this article gained such a healthy readership as it was an experiment in tone and drew on my personal experience rather than analysis of reports or research.

The article is largely based on failures and I am a great advocate of failure as the often forgotten truism – we learn from our mistakes – is a vital one to remember when dealing with workplace safety.  OHS professionals have feared failure because in workplaces failure often results in injury.  But progress comes from our response to failure rather than the failure itself.  Preventing a recurrence of an incident or avoiding the same mistake is a major step to maturity, both personally and organisationally.  Treating failure as shameful impedes progress.

The SafetyAtWorkBlog has published over 1,900 articles since its inception in 2008.  The volume of articles has declined as a result of needing fulltime OHS work but the SafetyAtWorkBlog has built a library that has been read by over 700,000 readers, not counting those reading on other social media platforms.  The blog receives no funding, as discussed in an article from September this year, and, as a result could end at any time.  However the intention is for this blog to grow and to change, as all things must. I hope that I can count on your continuing support to do this.

Kevin Jones

3 thoughts on “SafetyAtWorkBlog’s most popular articles of 2015”

  1. I only now read your article on WorkSafe Vic and the rolling heads.

    Interesting. I wonder if a similar such event occur here in South Australia not so long ago, although perhaps not as spectacularly public or obvious, there is no question about that a change did come.

    I get the feeling the ‘new blood’ is well and truly pumping through our state regulator and there is an absolute and obvious breath of fresh air to be experienced by those of us who were choking on the old stale rubbish we were being fed. The old antiquated arrogance is being addressed with actual consultation! I know … right?

    Yes, it is early days but you know, when it looks this good, it must be better for us. Bring on 2016 and let’s see what this the new leadership brings us. I’m game ….

  2. I would like to say a big thank you to Kevin’s blog, Safety At Work. It has kept me informed about many currents facets of OH&S realities on the ground. I am particularly interested in the psychological health of workers and the negative outcome often leading to workers stress if organisations do not provide a psychologically healthy workplace.
    If anyone is interested I completed a PhD titled: Feeling the heat: workers’ experiences of job stress in the Victorian Community Services Sector link http://vuir.vu.edu.au/21792/ Dr. Lorraine Harrison

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