Inspection data offers COVID19 risk priorities

The coronavirus pandemic is an unexpected challenge for many employers and for workers. As this article from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation shows, there is confusion about the rights and duties of both parties at work.

Larry acted under his duty to not put himself at harm by raising his concern to his employer. The employer should have already determined that the workplace is safe and without risks to health and implemented control measures to reduce the risk of cross-infection. Guidance on how to do this has existed for several weeks.

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Craig Schopp

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Craig Schopp is an occupational health and safety (OHS) consultant from South Australia, who runs his own business, Choose Safety, and has accepted the humanising OHS challenge.

How did you get into Health & Safety?

Initially picked safety up as an extension of process engineering and quality management, then found safety to be a better fit with my personal ethics. Looking back now, I realise that a lot of the process improvements we were implementing had a safety improvement too, but this was not really the main intention of the work.

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At the moment it is hard to focus on anything other than COVID19 but workplace health and safety has always been more than just the coronavirus. The same hazards exist and the same risks need to be managed. So SafetyAtWorkBlog is providing access to its full library of several thousand articles, as well as new articles, for a discount of 50% for one week only.

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Kevin Jones

“So far as is reasonably practicable” is often used by scoundrels

On May 4, 2006, John Della Bosca advised the New South Wales Parliament

“The Government will clarify that the general duties and obligations under the Act apply so far as is reasonably practicable. Ensuring the health and safety of employees will mean eliminating risks to health and safety so far as is reasonably practicable. Where it is not reasonable to eliminate a risk, employers will be required to reduce the risks to the lowest level reasonably practicable. Practical risk management does not require employers to go to extraordinary, unrealistic lengths, and never has. Rather, it requires the management of risks that are likely to affect health and safety over which the duty holder has a level of control. This is what the Government has always said, and it has always been Government policy. This is what it intends to enshrine in legislation to give greater certainty to both employers and employees.”

Della Bosca paints “so far as is reasonably practicable” (ASFAIRP) as an integral part of eliminating risks to health and safety and it is an integral part of OHS laws, but it is also a limitation, a condition and a concession in achieving safe and healthy workplaces and one that is drastically in need of a thorough independent review.

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Barry Naismith

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Barry Naismith

Barry Naismith is the first to accept the humanisation challenge. Barry has a long commitment to occupational health and safety (OHS) and social justice. He has independently produced many analytical papers about Victorian occupational health and safety data and its broader social context. He is also behind the very active Facebook page for OHSIntros.

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