Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

Occupational health and safety (OHS) laws continue to be relevant even when operating in a time of a highly infectious pandemic, but they are increasingly sidelined. At the moment there are labour shortages in Australia because of the large number of workers infected, and affected, by the Omicron variant of COVID-19; a shortage exacerbated by …

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Poor OHS consultation creates COVID disputes

One of the first Australian companies to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations, SPC, was back in the newspapers today concerning booster shots. SPC’s Chairman, Hussein Rifai, said he will not be making boosters compulsory: “After rolling out a full vaccination policy in August, Rifai’s SPC workers have already beaten him to the third dose.“We’re just not seeing …

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It’s not the laws, it’s the implementation

A major criticism of the Australian government about its response to the COVID-19 pandemic is that it has provided mixed messages about what to do and when. Those messages are sometimes amended by State Governments, and the messages from both these sources could change in a matter of days. This creates an enormous challenge for …

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Mandatory vaccinations without making vaccinations mandatory

In a little over a month, the Australian conversation about mandatory vaccinations at work has changed dramatically. In early August, food processing company SPC was treated suspiciously over its requirements for its workers, customers, and contractors to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Recently, the New South Wales Premier, Glady Berejiklian, required vaccinations for workers to move … Continue reading “Mandatory vaccinations without making vaccinations mandatory”

OHS progress needs out of the box thinking

It is generally understood that the attempt to harmonise Australia’s occupational health and safety (OHS) laws failed to achieve the level of change and integration expected. The laws are more harmonised than they were but each jurisdiction claimed special needs and so multiple jurisdictions continue to exist with their own laws and one State, Victoria, …

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Does the tail wag the dog or vice versa?

Trade union opposition to mandatory vaccinations against the Covid-19 virus continues, primarily because they feel left out of the conversation at SPC. However, the support for at least not dismissing mandatory vaccinations is growing. In The Australian on August 18 2021, the lawyer advising SPC on its vaccination policy, Joel Zyngier of Gilchrist Connell, said …

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Save lives or save money – the OHS tension

There are two core elements to the work of the occupational health and safety (OHS) professional – the management of Safety and the management of Safety Liability. In the simplest of terms, the former saves lives and the latter saves money. OHS (and politics) has always involved juggling these two extremes. There are many examples …

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