A shaky start leads to a terrific book on incident investigation by Michael Tooma Reply

There is one word that should not be used as an adjective in relation to workplace fatalities – impacted. Workers fall from roofs and the concrete floor has an impact on them. Workers hit by mobile plant or crushed in machines die from the impact. An impact results from the transfer of energy and this transfer of energy in workplaces can kill. “Impacted” is used by those who do not feel comfortable differentiating between “affect” and “effect” and it is surprising to find the term used in the opening chapter of Michael Tooma’s latest book, More…

New Tooma OHS book augurs well for the rest of the series on due diligence 6

Tooma is a leading figure in Australia’s analysis and application of occupational health and safety (OHS) laws.  He has also been a regular author for publisher CCH.  His latest book on workplace health and safety is entitled “Due Diligence: Duty of Officers”.  The process for harmonisation of OHS laws in Australia continues to be a rocky one but there are some elements emerging that, even if the laws are not applied in each State, will change the way that OHS is perceived in workplaces.  The increased involvement and accountability of senior managers has been a More…

Tooma takes aim at the Environment Minister over accountability 6

Participants at the 2010 Safety In Action conference and the 2010 ASSE Conference will be familiar with lawyer, Michael Tooma‘s faith in due diligence to improve safety management in Australia.  In the lead-up to his appearance at another Australian OHS conference in October 2010 he has again restated his faith but this largely ignores the changed political context of OHS harmonisation on which the new Work Health and Safety laws are based. I have mentioned Australia’s current peculiar political position elsewhere.  The uncertainty of Federal politics overlaps and could greatly affect the OHS harmonisation process, or rather, its application.  It seems even more likely that More…

Selective duty of care being applied by the Australian Government 5

Australia’s work health and safety (WHS) laws confirmed the modern approach to workplace safety legislation and compliance where workers and businesses are responsible for their own safety and the safety of others who may be affected by the work.  The obligations to others existed before the latest WHS law reforms but it was not widely enforced.  The Grocon wall collapse in Victoria and the redefinition of workplace in many Australian jurisdictions through the OHS harmonisation program gave the obligation more prominence but has also caused very uncomfortable challenges for the Australian government – challenges that affect More…

Are OHS professionals on the ‘B’ Ark? 12

In The Restaurant at the End of the Universe Douglas Adams has a character tell a story of a ship of middle managers being sent from a supposedly doomed plant to colonise a new world.  The ‘B’ Ark contains millions of “Hairdressers, tired TV producers, insurance salesmen, personnel officers, security guards, public relations executives, management consultants,….” I think occupational health and safety (OHS) professionals are lucky they were not included in the list because many people consider OHS professionals to be little more than a nuisance.