COVID, Blame and Employers

Australia has not had a crisis in public health to the magnitude of COVID-19 for a very long time. It is understandable for people to look at a public health crisis through the reference point of their own experience and profession. There is an overlap between the management of the pandemic and occupational health and …

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Hundreds plead with government to save lives while those to blame beg for scrutiny

The article below has been written by Marian Macdonald and is about an event that I recently attended in Sydney about fall protection. When a plumber perched on the rooftop of a skyscraper clips a safety harness onto the point that anchors him to the building, there’s a one-in-three chance the anchor itself is unsafe. … Continue reading “Hundreds plead with government to save lives while those to blame beg for scrutiny”

Some families in South Australia blame WorkCover for their partners’ suicides

In January 2010, Today Tonight in South Australia aired a disturbing report about the workers compensation reforms in that State.  It talks to two widows who blame WorkCover SA as contributing to their husbands’ suicides.  One man left a suicide note explicitly blaming WorkCover SA, emphasising his point by jumping to his death from the … Continue reading “Some families in South Australia blame WorkCover for their partners’ suicides”

Over-emphasising the COVID pandemic

Everyone has struggled through the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have died. We have to continue to make many allowances for businesses and people due to the disruption, but some are using the pandemic as an excuse for not doing something. Occupational health and safety (OHS) inactivity is being blamed on COVID-19 in some instances, masking or … Continue reading “Over-emphasising the COVID pandemic”

Jessie Singer and the “social autopsy”

I am halfway through an extraordinary book called “There Are No Accidents – The Deadly Rise of Injury and Disaster—Who Profits and Who Pays the Price” by Jessie Singer. It is extraordinary in many ways, but the most significant is that Singer chose to write a book for the general reader about how people are … Continue reading “Jessie Singer and the “social autopsy””

New Perspectives in OHS

Yesterday the Central Safety Group (CSG) invited me to talk at its monthly lunchtime seminar. The topic was New Perspectives on OHS. These perspectives are likely to be familiar to subscribers of this blog but were intended to be provocative and foster reflection and discussion. Below is a substantially edited version. Thanks for inviting me …

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Trade Unions, Cost, Exploitation and Responsibilisation

Trade unions have been the longest and strongest advocates on occupational health and safety (OHS) in Australia. Still, their political influence is falling slower than its declining membership due to structural legacies, of which the tripartite OHS consultation is one. The trade union strategy for OHS was to monetise it so that changes in OHS …

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