Lessons for many in the prosecution of Pipecon

The prosecution of Pipecon over two of its workers who died in a trench collapse in March 2018 has opened in Ballarat’s County Court this week. Day one of the plea hearing was reported in the local newspapers and provided details of the circumstances of the events leading up to the deaths of Charlie Howkins …

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Possible replacements for Safe Work Method Statements

Could improving the situational awareness of workers replace Safe Work Method Statements? Many Australian occupational health and safety (OHS) professionals rally against the dominance of Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS). The application of SWMS beyond the legislated high-risk construction work parameters increases the amount of safety clutter and misrepresents OHS as being able to be …

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‘Safety Clutter’ and what to do about it

Many companies have bloated workplace procedures.  Many of these seem to involve workplace health and safety.  Some people blame this on a bureaucracy designed in the olden times by someone, that somehow still exists and is maintained by someone or some process that no one sees or knows. Some prominent Australian researchers have looked into …

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Latest safety culture report on construction has lessons for all

In 2012, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) government undertook a review of safety in its construction industry and produced a report called “Getting Home Safely“. In early 2017, the Government contracted RMIT University to review the construction sector’s work health and safety culture in the aftermath of the 2012 report and government actions since them.  …

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Remember industrial manslaughter laws?

Last week’s article on “A new option for avoiding OHS obligations” caused one reader to send through a copy of a 2005 article written by Paul Breslin about Industrial Manslaughter. The article “Industrial manslaughter: Is it time for legislation in all Australian jurisdictions?“* is a good summary of the situation over ten years ago in …

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Safety is the highest priority. Really?

Workplace safety can have a bizarre logic.  A recent example can be seen in the continuing controversy about the deaths of two workers on a construction site in Western Australia. In November 2015 two workers Joe McDermott and Gerard Bradley were crushed to death by a concrete slab while on a break at a Jaxon Construction site …

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SWMS – the infectious safety weed

Australian occupational health and safety (OHS) professional, Paul Breslin, is continuing his research into the use and application of the Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) in the construction industry.  His latest paper, recently published in the Journal of Health, Safety and Environment (subscription only) asks an important question: “If administrative controls are one of the …

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