A closer look at the positive duty to prevent sexual harassment

The big occupational health and safety (OHS) news in Australia has been the release of the federal government’s response to the Respect@Work report on sexual harassment in Australian workplaces. And the biggest issue in that response seems to be the government’s lack of enthusiasm for a major recommendation of Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins, the …

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Insurance may diminish a director’s commitment to their positive OHS duty

Neil Foster of the University of Newcastle is known to SafetyAtWorkBlog for his work looking at the legal liabilities of company directors and officers.  Recently Foster released a paper called “You can’t do that! Directors insuring against criminal WHS penalties” which provides an additional legal context to an earlier blog article. Foster acknowledges that “…provisions of the criminal law imposing personal … Continue reading “Insurance may diminish a director’s commitment to their positive OHS duty”

Disconnect and Positive Duties

Recently the Australian government released the interim report of the Select Committee on Work and Care. This committee is one to watch for many reasons; the least is that it is chaired by Senator Barabara Pocock, a leading researcher and writer on issues related to work/life balance and workplace equity. The report does not address …

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Is the Psych Health and Safety Conference worth attending?

Recently, Sydney, Australia, experienced the inaugural Psych Health and Safety conference managed by Flourishdx, a prominent Australian consultancy that identifies and helps companies manage psychosocial hazards at work. There were around 400 delegates in person and online. The conference was a gamble for Flourishdx, and it largely paid off, but contrary to some of the …

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Slow progress on mental health at work

Delegates at the recent Psych Health and Safety Conference were desperate for case studies on how psychosocial hazards are being prevented in Australian workplaces. Instead, they were largely presented with examples of how to manage psychosocial hazards, and many of those strategies were unsurprising – policies, training, counselling, leadership buy-in – and were familiar to …

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Evaluating the effectiveness of OHS interventions and programs

Last month, an extraordinary document appeared – “Evaluating OH&S Interventions: A WorkSafe Victoria Intervention Evaluation Framework 2023 (2nd Ed.).” Its extraordinariness comes from its appearance with no fanfare or promotion; it is a second edition of something published in 2004 (which I cannot recollect), it has authoritative authors, and it is a document many have …

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The Spiritualism of HR

“Trust us” is one of the riskiest phrases anyone can use. It may be even riskier to accept it. In workplaces, it is often the start of a relationship, but it can also be the start of betrayal. Part of the risk in starting any new job is that new employees must accept their introductions …

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