Who is responsible for workplace safety? – Podcast

The 2nd episode of the Cabbage Salad and Safety podcast is now available.

Cabbage Salad ImageThe theme of the podcast is “who is responsible for workplace safety?”. It is a simple question that can create complex answers, in practice.

This episode sometimes sounds like an interview rather than a conversation but as the question calls for a legal response more than a safety professional response, Siobhan Flores-Walsh provides some excellence guidance.

Occupational health and safety law provides pretty clear guidance on safety responsibility but there is often pushback on this as people don’t want to take on more responsibility than they have to. Responsibility also can become complex after an incident when responsibility is often equated with blame.

Cabbage Salad and Safety podcasts are still evolving and we have read all the feedback and comments that listeners have emailed in. Please have a listen and email me your thoughts for future episodes and please comment bleow if you prefer.

Episode 1 is available HERE.

Kevin Jones


3 thoughts on “Who is responsible for workplace safety? – Podcast”

  1. Hi Medop,
    The employer was and is responsible.
    The first issue was that they believed they had sufficiently discharged that responsibility with the installation of the two air conditioners.
    The second issue was that they didn’t have the knowledge of how to assess the conditions (risk) in the crane cabin, until I introduced the idea of the temperature data logger.
    Once I had identified the high temps, validating the operators’ claim, the employer gave approval for the cabin to be insulated using a customised ‘sandwich’ blanket.

  2. Thanks Siobhan and Kevin for another thought provoking discussion.
    I’ve learnt that next time I need to take notes as I’m listening because it’s difficult to retain specific comments on a variety of related ideas as the discussion proceeds. I’ll need to do this so that I can make useful contributions to the topics discussed in future.

    Kevin I think you’re insight into the identification and assessment of risk and what constitutes making them safe is the main area that cause this responsibility issue to be clouded.

    As an example I recall one issue in a foundry where overhead crane operators were complaining of the temperature rises when transporting crucibles of molten iron under the crane cabin.

    Because there were already 2 air-conditioners in the cabin, management considered they’d made the cabin safe and wouldn’t believe there was a problem until I obtained a thermal data logger and did a 24 hours survey of cabin temperatures.

    The survey did identify the operators were correct. The temperature rose to a staggering 47 degrees during the hottest parts of the day/night cycle despite the 2 coolers.

    I think the responsibility issue here was clouded because management had spent significant resources installing and maintaining the coolers but didn’t have the knowledge about how to gather the data to check the workers’ claims.

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