Safe Work Australia (SWA) quietly released an amended version of its “Work-related psychological health and safety: A systematic approach to meeting your duties” recently. SafetyAtWorkBlog looks at what has changed.
The original file included a chapter headed “Provisional Liability” which has been shifted giving more prominence to “What is meant by recovery and return-to-work?”. The original information remains; however, the text identifies a weakness in the guidance.
“A long period away from work can undermine working relationships and has been shown to lead to poorer RTW outcomes for injured workers. ”page 27
Any occurrence of the phrase “has been shown” should be accompanied by a reference to the source of the evidence that shows this “fact”. This phrase strongly implies that there is evidence and SWA should point the reader to this evidence. One of the, perhaps snobby, criticisms of the first guidance was that it is not research but a position statement on the issue agreed by participants in SWA’s tripartite consultation. A position statement can still be authoritative and links to evidence would address some of this criticism.
Some text changes are understandable. For instance, where the original document referred to “doctors” as treating practitioners, the new guidance includes “or other health practitioners” in keeping with the current approach to medical assistance.
A lot of the text changes relate to formatting – a capitalisation here, a hard return for an additional bulletpoint, updated page numbers. One change provides clarity through the deletion of “may”. The new version states:
These laws, although similar in all jurisdictions,page 26
mayhave some variations so it is important to refer to your jurisdiction and ensure you are compliant with relevant laws.
Are there fundamental changes to this guidance? No, but we should not have to ask this question. Most subsequent editions of a book or document has a new Preface or similar which explains the reasons for the editorial and textual changes. Government publications hardly ever do this but should, especially if government as a whole accepts that the level of trust from stakeholders needs improving. A new explanatory Preface is a small change but is also one of those nudges beloved by behavioural scientists.