OHS gets talked about in WA Parliament

On 17 August 2017, Matthew Swinbourn of the Australian Labor Party spoke, at length, in the Western Australian Parliament about workplace safety.  His address did not seem to be prompted by an industrial relations dispute or a recent fatality but is supportive of general occupational health and safety (OHS) principles and the changes in WA law to improve compatibility with the Work Health and Safety laws and obligations in other States.

The response from the former Minister for Commerce and Liberal Party member, Michael Mischin,  was a curious mix of rebuttals and was one of several Parliamentarians who chose to speak about workplace safety in that State’s Legislative Council.

According to Hansard for that day, Swinbourn mentioned the substantial cost burden on individual workers and their families of workplace injuries.

“Of these costs—this was a surprising figure to me—the overwhelming majority, 95 per cent, is borne by individuals and society. Workers bore 77 per cent of those costs, the community 18 per cent and employers five per cent.”

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Alt-Safety

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Last week I asked a question of a panel of occupational health and safety (OHS) regulators about ‘safety differently’.  It was something like

“Does OHS/WHS law need to change to accommodate ‘safety differently’ and are any of you applying these principles in your own organisation?”

Part two of the question was ignored and Part One needed clarification as the previous day’s conference discussion of ‘safety differently’ by QantasLink and others wasn’t obvious. The OHS profession and businesses need a new easily digestible term for “safety differently”.  Continue reading “Alt-Safety”

Personalised training, ladder standards and a non-gamechanger

L to R: Brad Parker, Liz Tosti, Chris McKie

Day 2 of the SAFETYconnect conference commenced with a disrupted panel discussion comprising four representatives of Australia workplace safety regulators.  Each representative provided a 10 minute presentation about their agency and their plans.  Curiously almost all of them discussed their strategic plans which varied between three and ten years but almost all contained the same aims, targets and challenges.

Some of the most interesting content was in the more practical stream of the conference.

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SafetyConnect conference connects

This week’s SAFETYconnect conference hosted by the NSCA Foundation in Sydney had a very good strike rate of interesting speakers on its first day.  Only one speaker missed the safety mark – it was as if they had been handed a marketing presentation instead of safety and, regardless of the safety audience, give it anyway.

This conference was notable for the way that the ‘safety differently’/Safety II movement has moved into mainstream safety management.  The most obvious example of this was a presentation by QantasLink.

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Government could help progress OHS so much more

Innovation in occupational health and safety (OHS) is often encouraged by government but government processes and policy can also discourage and limit this.  An obvious example is where government insists on compliance with OHS laws in its tendering criteria but acknowledges that the tender safety criteria remains outdated and, privately, that OHS compliance is not enough to ensure a safe and healthy workplace.

An important OHS document in the Victorian bureaucracy and construction sector is a

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