Old working hours concepts persist as subtext in new debates

One of the most contentious occupational health and safety (OHS) elements of industrial relations negotiations is the issue of working hours. And one of the most effective ways to prevent physical and psychological harm is by talking about working hours. The evidence for harm from excessive and often unpaid hours is clear, but some assumptions …

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Does OHS research have a Left and a Right?

Occupational health and safety (OHS) has had an uneasy ride in political debates in Australia, often because there is a disturbing morality in laws that dictate an employer has responsibility for the safety and health of their workers, even if legal wriggle room is allowed. There is no written history of OHS in Australia except …

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Political point-scoring misses the point

Last week the Australian Financial Review (AFR) caused a bit of a political stink by reporting that: “….Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show the share of casual employment was 22.8 per cent in February – 1.3 percentage points lower than in February 2020, just before the pandemic hit the economy.The casualisation rate is 4.8 percentage …

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Resilience = the enemy of the Duty of Care

Last year Professor Michael Quinlan and Dr Elsa Underhill wrote about how precarious work arrangements had contributed to the spread and prevalence of COVI19 in Australia and its workplaces. Soon Australia’s Treasurer, Josh Frydenburg, will announce his 2021-22 Budget strategy. It is forecast to include big government spending and in many different areas of Australian …

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International perspective on bullying and harassment

In April 2021 the International Association on Workplace Bullying and Harassment conducted its 2002 conference online. The conference was enlightening for its inclusivity. Many Western countries categorise work-related mental health as if they have minimal overlap. Workplace bullying is often seen as its own discipline with its own guidances, analyses and supporting industries. This can …

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Building a resilient society

In the middle of a pandemic, it is easy to be locked into small issues, especially if they directly relate to you, such as lockdowns or sick relatives but it is important to be reminded of the broader social context. Professor Michael Quinlan recently wrote an editorial for the Annals of Work Exposures and Health, …

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Federal leadership misses State action

Australia’s Industrial Relations Minister and Attorney-General, Christian Porter, has popped up on occupational health and safety (OHS) issues several times in the last few weeks. It is fair to say that each time he has not really shone, partly due to political ideology and partly due to constitutional structures. Some of these barriers, the Minister …

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