We must understand the social pressures on employer safety decisions

There is a cost-of-living crisis in large parts of the world, there is a climate emergency, there are wars and political instability and insecurity everywhere. Why is occupational health and safety (OHS) still considered important? Well, it isn’t really when compared to these global and existential crises, but that is the microcosm in which we …

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Psychosocial incidents to be notifiable in Australia

The CEO of Safe Work Australia, Marie Boland, told delegates of the Psych Health and Safety Conference in Sydney on June 19 2024 that psychosocial injuries are likely to be notifiable to occupational health and safety (OHS) regulators, including instances of work-related suicide....

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New data on workplace suicides should change the mental health at work discussion

“No one should die at work” is a common statement at Worker Memorial Services every year. Occupational health and safety (OHS), in particular, uses death as a starting point for reflection and sometimes action. Workplace death is a recognised worst-case scenario and has long been established as a benchmark for measuring OHS progress. [This article …

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The fluctuating grey zone of compliance

The occupational health and safety (OHS) profession operates within the legislative context of “so far as is reasonably practicable“, that band of compliance, that non-prescriptive, performance-based flexibility offered to employers to encourage them to provide safe and healthy workplaces. It could be said that OHS was easier forty years ago because the compliance band was …

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The future of OHS and Safe Work Australia

Marie Boland‘s work and reviews have been prominent features in Australia’s occupational health and safety (OHS) for over a decade. Last year, she took on the CEO role at Safe Work Australia, the country’s principal workplace health and safety policy body. Recently Boland spoke to the Australian Institute of Health and Safety (AIHS). The interview/article …

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Mental Health First Aid is not a harm prevention strategy

Courses in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) are increasingly popular in Australia as employers struggle to understand their (new) occupational health and safety (OHS) obligations to provide psychologically safe and healthy work environments. However, MHFA and OHS are fundamentally incompatible. MHFA is an intervention program, while OHS requires prevention. So, employers who send staff to …

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“10 to 15% of suicides in the working population are attributable to work”

Job strain, job stress, and psychosocial hazards at work have become mainstream if a major public broadcaster produces radio programs and podcasts about them. On March 15, 2024, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s This Working Life program interviewed Australian experts on job strain. The program offered the latest thinking on the prevalence of this hazard and …

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