Is a definition of a “safe system of work” still needed?

Recently Carlo Caponecchia and Anne Wyatt published a short article about the “safe system of work” (open access for a limited time) – an important concept of occupational health and safety (OHS) and element of OHS laws, but one that is poorly defined; possibly because a sociological definition is more useful, and the sociology of …

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Insecure work inquiries should embrace and expand the safe system of work

The Victorian Government has just released its first discussion paper into labour hire practices and insecure work. As has been discussed when the Inquiry was announced, occupational health and safety (OHS) is part of this inquiry but OHS will only gain the attention it deserves if someone advocates on behalf of worker safety exclusively and … Continue reading “Insecure work inquiries should embrace and expand the safe system of work”

“Careful” being replaced by “Mindful”

American television drama Hill Street Blues almost always included a pre-work briefing with the senior officer concluding with a “Let’s be careful out there”.  Whether the officers paid attention to this all the time is debatable, but it was an important statement that revolved around Care. In occupational health and safety (OHS) briefings and political … Continue reading ““Careful” being replaced by “Mindful””

The causes of unsafe behaviours

This blog has always had strong reservations about the occupational health and safety (OHS) focus on the unsafe behaviour of workers to the exclusion of organisational and socio-economic factors. A recent research study on Iranian workers provides a fresh look at the causes of unsafe behaviours applicable to a wide range of occupations. The report* …

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OHS is “… more what you’d call ‘guidelines’ than actual rules.”

Occupational health and safety (OHS) may not be a common subject in the mainstream media but there is plenty of political discussion on the topic in Australia’s Parliament. The current (conservative) federal government seems very slow to accept and respond to recommendations from official inquiries that it sees as a secondary political priority, such as …

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Playing the man and not the hazard

People like Ken Phillips continue to pursue Premier Daniel Andrews and others for alleged breaches of occupational health and safety (OHS) laws over COVID19-related deaths stemming from failures in Victoria’s hotel quarantine program. On March 17 2021, the pressure to hold the Premier to account increased in the Victorian Parliament, largely under the guise of …

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The duty of care to “others”

In 2019 a man took his own life while being detained in the Villawood Immigration Detention Centre. At the time media reports said that the death was being referred to the appropriate authorities and the New South Wales Coroner. On March 10, 2021, Comcare charged: “The Department of Home Affairs and its healthcare provider (IHMS) …

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