New film provides an update on legal action over the 2014 Hazelwood mine fire

An independently-produced documentary, Our Power, about the Hazelwood mine fire had its Victorian premiere on March 2 2019. The Hazelwood coal mine fire was a major workplace disaster than generated substantial public health damage in the neighbour communities in the Latrobe Valley. An early record of the event and its impacts can be found in Tom Doig‘s book The Coal Face.

The documentary provides unique vision of the fire and how it burned and polluted the neighbourhood for over a month in 2014. As time goes on, the fire is seen more as an environmental disaster as it is workplace incident and speakers in Our Power are certainly confident in linking the fire with the privatisation of State-owned assets and the social injustice that underpins neoliberalism.

Login or subscribe to SafetyAtWorkBlog to continue reading.
Article locked

Log In Subscribe

Workplace sexual harassment inquiry releases more submissions

The National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces has released another block of public submissions. many of them involve examples of horrible harassment and psychological harm, but several offer research, suggestions for improvement and, a little bit of, prevention.

Those making the recently released submissions seem to be realising that the inquiry’s terms of reference focuses on Australian workplaces.

Non-disclosure agreements and communication barriers

One submission is from Professor Judith Bessant, AM, of RMIT University (Submission 188) in which she addresses the application of Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs). NDAs have been in the press lately as some of those who experienced sexual harassment were unable to make submissions to this Inquiry without contravening the NDA they had with their employer. Professor Bessant asserts that

Login or subscribe to SafetyAtWorkBlog to continue reading.
Article locked

Log In Subscribe

SafetyAtWorkBlog OHS “tip-off” line launches

Free Access

SafetyAtWorkBlog occasionally receives confidential documents and phone calls about workplace health and safety incidents, investigations and reports. It is time that this process was given some formality in order to encourage transparency on issues while, if necessary, preserving anonymity. To achieve this aim a “tip-off” line has been created by SafetyAtWorkBlog using the Whispli whistleblowing platform. The workplace health and safety information line is launched today and will continue to be refined over the next few months.

If you have some information related to workplace health and safety that you think would be of interest to SafetyAtWorkBlog, please let me know by clicking this gateway.

Continue reading “SafetyAtWorkBlog OHS “tip-off” line launches”

Responses to the Boland Report into Australia’s Work Health and Safety Laws

The mainstream Australian media has almost entirely ignored the release of Marie Boland’s Final Report of the independent Review of Australia’s Work Health and Safety laws. but some of the usual players in the workplace relations sector have responded. Below is a longer responsive from the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) but first some simpler responses.

The trade union movement has almost entirely focused on the Industrial Manslaughter recommendations in the Boland Report. As well as a couple of media statements, the Australian Council of Trade Unions released a video on February 25 2019 with Assistant Secretary Liam O’Brien accompanied by the parents of two deceased workers. The first to speak were Tony and Robyn Hampton whose son, Jarrod, died while working for Paspaley Pearls. The second couple were Janice and Mark Murray whose son, Luke, died when parts of a crane that was being unpacked fell on him.

Login or subscribe to SafetyAtWorkBlog to continue reading.
Article locked

Log In Subscribe

Boland’s WHS Report recommends a practical update of laws and practices

The Australian Government has released the final report of the Independent Review of its Work Health and Safety (WHS) laws, conducted by Marie Boland. Importantly, the Government has not issued its response yet and, given that there is a Federal Election in a couple of months’ time, is unlikely to. Why have another issue complicate the campaign particularly when that response may have to address Industrial Manslaughter laws which would focus on the accountability of business leaders? This Government has already been bruised on a similar issue through a Banking and Finance Royal Commission.

Regardless of this Government’s future treatment of the Boland Report, the report does progress occupational health and safety (OHS) and the operation of the WHS laws, reinforcing some aspects and challenging other. It is obligatory reading for those interested in OHS in Australia.

(SafetyAtWorkBlog is preparing an exclusive interview with Marie Boland for next week)

Login or subscribe to SafetyAtWorkBlog to continue reading.
Article locked

Log In Subscribe