Blog in two “best of” lists

Over the last week SafetyAtWorkBlog has been included in two “best of” lists.  One, from smartcompany, is the second year in a row and the other is from a UK website that includes this blog in a list of over 70 health and safety blogs.  Readers are encouraged to look at the other blogs referenced in the articles as there are more start-ups every year both in Australia and elsewhere.  To those involved in the awards sites, many thanks.

Kevin Jones

Best Business Blogs 2017 – smartcompany

“Keeping workplace health and safety processes up to date is vital for your business, but it’s a complicated area that can sometimes be left as a secondary priority. Workplace consultant Kevin Jones continues to investigate key issues in the area in his Safety at Work blog and uses current events as a starting point for lessons for business owners. Topics covered over the past week include what effect the film Deepwater Horizon, which features the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, will have on public perceptions of health and safety.”

The 72 Top Health & Safety Blogs

“Run by Kevin Jones and based in Australia, it covers a wide range of workplace safety topics. The Australian insight is a true delight and there are topics on here that we rarely see anywhere else. It is obvious that Kevin has a wealth of knowledge on workplace safety and if you have a spare 20 minutes listen to his ‘Cabbage Salad and Safety podcast’”


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3 thoughts on “Blog in two “best of” lists”

  1. The next time I receive a major nonconformance during a safety audit and I state just because you cannot see any evidence does not mean it is not happening maybe it will satisfy the auditor.

  2. I find it somewhat intriguing that two of the most prominent safety blogs in Australia have barely mentioned the resurgence of coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (CWP) or black lung. There have been 19 confirmed cases in Queensland and one in NSW.

    The Queensland parliamentary inquiry has held almost 30 public hearings throughout regional and rural Queensland and received approximately 40 submissions:

    In the United States, since 1975, the Department of Labour has paid out approximately $US 45 billion in CWP related compensation claims, which amounts to a lot of hospitals and other public health infrastructure.

    The silence from OHS professionals in Australia has been deafening. The SIA, which promotes itself as our peak safety body and accredits safety professionals, did not even provide a submission to the Queensland parliament select committee public inquiry due to lack of technical expertise. I recently attended a SIA function in Brisbane and it was not even on their radar.

    Many of the alleged safety professionals do not have the intestinal fortitude to challenge the orthodoxy and are more concerned with the political and economical ramifications. This leads me to quote one of the early members of the Fabian society, Harold Laski…..” A healthy loyalty is not passive and complacent but active and critical”

    The resurgence of CWP is a significant legal, financial and moral occupational and public health issue. It will ultimately affect everyone and it has barely been mentioned on this or many other safety sites or blogs. The silence has been deafening.

    I have attended several public hearings, read the transcripts, related publications and many other technical reports. Regulatory capture, the prevalence of contingent or precarious contract labour hire arrangements and the provision of significant performance bonuses for atavistic mercenary rednecks to meet extreme production targets are significant contributory factors. However, addressing the problem at the source using passive controls will resolve many of the organisational problems.

    Corporations are an anthropomorphic fallacy. They have no memory, soul to save or body to incarcerate. It has happened before with the Radium Girls in the 1920s. It has happened with asbestos and it will happen again.
    The transcripts, especially from public hearings in the Bowen basin are quite alarming. Leadership and intimidation are not synonymous.
    Representatives from BMA Broadmeadow had to be summoned to appear before the select committee at a recent public hearing in Brisbane. It is redolent of their contempt. Their platitudes of good governance and corporate social responsibility are pure hogwash and are merely corporate bilge masquerading as leadership and indicative of regulatory capture.

    What has happened in the United States and here is amoral and to quote the late Gore Vidal, the US is the only nation to go from barbarism to decadence and bypass civilisation.

    The following links provide disturbing details of how it has evolved in the US:


    The all clear reports health surveillance reports from the radiologist at the Johns Hopkins Medical Centre in Baltimore and impending civil action sounds all too familiar.

    The book by Alan Derickson entitled Black lung – Anatomy of a public health disaster is worth reading. It was not that long ago that public health officials in the US announced that exposure to coal dust prevented TB. This is analogous with many comments from the purveyors of cigarettes and other tobacco products and Vance Packard’s The Hidden Persuaders provides even more examples.
    Moreover, it is only a matter of time before we experience another disaster like Moura or Pike River and to quote another early member of the Fabian society………………..
    “A reasonable estimate of economic organization must allow for the fact that, unless industry is to be paralyzed by recurrent revolts on the part of outraged human nature, it must satisfy criteria, which are not purely economic”
    R H Tawney – Religion and the Rise of Capitalism (1926)

    Over recent years there has been extraordinary growth in the study of human behaviour, which includes psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, behaviourism, cognitive behaviour therapy, cybernetics, sociobiology, evolutionary psychology, neurolinguistic programming, neuro-scientific imaging and neurochemistry. Dalrymple critically evaluates how psychology undermines morality and provides further interesting observations and extensive comments on this vast, arcane and dynamic discipline. Notwithstanding these remarkable developments and despite the logorrhea, it would be a bold person who claims that our self-understanding, with the forlorn hope of an existence free of inner and outer conflict, is now greater than that of Montaigne or Shakespeare. Human motives are rarely pure and never simple and we owe incomparably more to improved sewerage than to psychology. The human brain, for something supposedly so brilliant and evolutionary advanced, is a pretty messy, extremely fallible and complicated organ. This supports the philosophy of the late and much lamented Trevor Kletz ……..try to change situations, not people. It is much less complicated than teaching rodents or pigeons how to play table tennis and wallowing in scientology, neurolinguistic programming or obscurantist psychobabble.

    Leadership is reiterated as frequently as the terms reaching out or moving forward in many management meetings but it has been sadly lacking with the resurgence of CWP. We are more concerned with addressing coincidental HR issues than material or operational risks.

    1. Bernard, thanks for commenting. You are right in saying that the SafetyAtWorkBlog has not written articles about coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (CWP). You won’t find many articles here about asbestos either. My response is that I cannot write about every OHS hazard that exists. I have only just started receiving an income from this blog and it is unlikely it will ever cover the costs of my writing and the research that is required to produce around two to three articles each week.

      But what I have been writing about relates to the corporate, governmental and OHS responses to OHS issues like CWP. No one continues to refer back to the governmental ineptitude over the Home Insulation Program. Few are asking whether the OHS profession should be questioning neoliberalism and the capitalist base for the worker exploitation in health. Few are publishing articles like the recent one from Lin Fritschi which includes her quote:

      “For some OHS people it’s maybe more about protecting the company profits than the worker health.”

      Which other OHS professional attended the screening of “Overburden” and reported on its relevance to Australia?

      I do what I can to inform the OHS profession and prick their consciences and challenge them to look deeper at why we do the things we do, how we do that and the advice that we provide. It is wrong to criticise individuals for the lack of “intestinal fortitude” without knowing the amount of effort that many are putting in to change the issues over which they have influence. That this is not visible is not the same as it not happening. I know of individuals who are trying their hardest to address the workplace health impacts of the Hazelwood mine fire in Victoria. I know others inside the OHS regulators who are trying to change its focus and to remind the regulators of the morality that underpins OHS. That these stories are not written about constantly in blogs is not to indicate this advocacy is not happening. Sometimes that activity does not allow time to write about it on a blog.

      I believe that the Safety Institute can do much more than it has but accepts that it is rebuilding its resources and its reputation after an atrocious period of ego and poor management. It was clear to me that the Victorian Branch was unlikely to make a submission to the Parliamentary inquiry into labour hire and precarious work so I pushed the SIA to respond and to represent those views personally at that inquiry. The OHS issues of precarious work would not have gained the attention it did without the SIA’s submission and my support. When a similar inquiry was initiated in Queensland I informed the SIA of this. Whether they chose to act, I don’t know. Please ask them and let me know of their response.

      There are scores of existing and emerging OHS risks in Australia and elsewhere. I report on some and archive others for when the time is right to write about them. This process can take weeks and months. I cannot write about everything but I can write about those issues that contribute to worker OHS exploitation. Safety Leadership works in some instances, is bullshit in others and is manipulated by some to mask corporate ineptitude and mismanagement. You will find in this blog as many articles criticising safety leadership and safety culture as there are praising them.

      I sympathise with many of the points you raise and look forward to you providing me with more information about CWP for me to add to the articles, reports and submissions that I have already accumulated for when I have the time and resources to do the issue justice. Perhaps you could consider taking out a subscription so that I can use your money to purchase the research articles and to interview people and to, perhaps, travel to Queensland to get first hand stories of those suffering from this disease. I have had two draft articles in the works for months and even years – one on the covering up of workplace deaths in the Tasmanian abalone industry and another related to a diver’s death and the Paspaley pearl company. I hope to find the time and resources to do them justice.

      What you won’t read in the SafetyAtWorkBlog is the use of a media release as a story, or a statement that is not questioned or a claim that is not verified. I will do what I can, within the limits of my resources, to report on any OHS issue. I look forward to your help in making those articles of the best quality possible.

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