Independent okay for New Zealand’s sex industry

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In 2000, sexworkers advocates in Australia published “A guide to best practice – Occupational health and safety in the Australian sex industry”. They tried for some time to have OHS authorities accept it as an industry-based code applicable to that particular State. As far as I know, they were unsuccessful but many of the elements of the guide have been picked up in various laws and licensing conditions since then. An updated soft version of the guide is available online, along with guidelines from other jurisdictions. (My edition of Safety At Work concerning the sex industry is still available as a free download)

I was reminded of this today when I saw a report from New Zealand about sexworker safety. It was reported that two Women’s Institute members from England have undertaken a world tour of brothel districts to determine the impact of local laws on prostitution. They were very impressed by New Zealand’s sex industry.

I am very impressed that an institution like the Women’s Institute undertook this activity. The realist approach to an activity that will never go away speaks volumes for how an organisation unfairly stereotyped is establishing a contemporary relevance.

Disclaimer: I treasure the WI Cookbook I purchased in the Lake District on my honeymoon over 20 years ago. It’s much better than some of the modern books that rely on manufactured ingredients.

OHS professional standards

Some years ago the CEO of an OHS certifying body came to Australia from the US.  He spoke intriguingly about the benefits of having an independently-assessed safety practitioner registration.  I could see the potential international career benefits but I am already a registered safety practitioner through my membership with an OHS professional association.  I couldn’t…

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Construction site deaths and union calls for manslaughter charges

Last weekend two Queensland workers fell 26 storeys from swing scaffolding to their deaths.  They were patching concrete on a building from a platform similar to those used by high-rise window cleaners. According to a 24 June 2008 ABC news report: “The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) says the men were wearing harnesses…

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Safety from an Australian/Asian perspective

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Several years ago, one of the major contributors to my Safety At Work magazine came to stay for a couple of weeks with my family in Melbourne.  Melody Kemp is a passionate safety professional who works mostly in the Asian region.  Melody has a fresh and blunt perspective on safety that keeps westerners and academics from becoming too pompous and isolated.

Melody wrote articles for me on women in the defence force, Indonesian fishing industry hazards and several other fascinating articles.   She has written for Dissent magazine, was the author of Working For Life – an OHS sourcebook for women, which is now a free download, and now has a blog of her own.  I highly recommend you spend some time reading her blog and reflecting on your own approach to OHS.

Sugar vat explosion update

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Further details have begun to emerge from the vat explosion at the Pioneer Sugar Mill at Burdekin in Queensland on 20 June 2008.  According to media reports, the plant, owned by CSR, was one of four sugar mills that suffered equipment failures on almost a daily basis, according to Burdekin Limited district manager Jim Collins.

Three workers were treated for minor injuries and the 80 staff at the mill  at the time were evacuated.