Be careful of the Precautionary Principle

The Precautionary Principle has appeared regularly in SafetyAtWorkBlog articles. There is a new publication from the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) in which this principle is succinctly explained in relation to COVID-19 but equally applicable to decisions on occupational health and safety (OHS). The new publication “The Role of the Industrial Hygienist in a Pandemic, …

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Established safety practices should still be investigated

Every profession has safety practices that have existed for years and are integral to that profession’s character and operations. These have usually occurred because of correlation more than a cause, and occupational health and safety (OHS), in particular, advocates evidence-based decisions. One longstanding example could be the mandatory wearing of lace-up ankle-high safety boots for …

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SPC shows leadership on mandatory vaccinations

The first week of August 2021 has been a big week for the discussion of mandatory vaccinations for Australian workers. A major Australian fruit cannery in regional Victoria, SPC, has stated that all of its workers, visitors to the site and contractors will need to be fully vaccinated by November 2021. This is being done …

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Change in the air on ventilation

One of Edward O’Donoghue’s recent Motion supporters in Victoria’s Parliament was Georgie Crozier, the Liberal Opposition’s Shadow Health Minister. In her speech in support of the Motion, she mentioned ventilation: “I have been asking for the audits of what has occurred in hotel quarantine under the new structure that the government put in after that …

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The certainty of diagnosis

Occupational health and safety (OHS) is not famous for its certainty. The days of prescriptive compliance to OHS laws are, probably, never to return. But the flexibility offered by modern OHS laws and the pervasiveness of “reasonably practicable” has complicated the management of workplace health safety by increasing that uncertainty. The attention being given to …

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“the point is not science, but safety”

Early last year Professor Andrew Hopkins wrote the following about making important safety decisions: “If you are a CEO in charge of a large company operating hazardous technologies, you cannot afford to wait for conclusive evidence. You must act on the basis of whatever imperfect knowledge you currently have.” page 110 This seems relevant to … Continue reading ““the point is not science, but safety””

Running before you can walk on COVID19 and Mental Health

On May 15 2020, the Australian Government released a National Mental Health and Wellbeing Pandemic Response Plan. Mental Health has been on Prime Minister Morrison’s agenda since his election a year ago and the mental health sector is not going to be starved of government funds during his tenure. Mental ill-health has been talked about …

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