Is a new OHS consultative model required?

A crucial element in achieving the aims of the independent review into WorkSafe Victoria, as discussed in an earlier SafetyAtWorkBlog article, seems to be the operation of the Occupational Health and Safety Advisory Committee (OHSAC).  It was difficult to obtain a list of the current members of OHSAC. Due to the appointments being considered “ministerial”, WorkSafe would not reveal memberships.

But it is worth considering whether this type of tripartite-dominated committee is the most suitable or effective way of consulting on occupational health and safety issues.  Can it represent the gig economy and new work arrangements?  Given the broadening of OHS into mental health and wellness, does the current membership still represent OHS? Where’s the Human Resources representative? Does OHSAC membership fit with the diversity we now expect from our company Boards? But, above all else, does the growth in social media make these often plodding, and sometimes secretive, processes ineffective or redundant?

A spokesperson for the Victorian Government has provided the following names of current OHSAC members as at December 2017.  SafetyAtWorkBlog has added titles and links to online member profiles:

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McLachlan accusations place more focus on the OHS of sexual harassment

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Prominent Australian actor, Craig McLachlan, has been accused of indecent assault by cast members of the Rocky Horror Show, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and Fairfax media (paywalled).  One actress, Erika Heynatz, has identified this behaviour as a workplace safety issue:

“Heynatz went immediately to the head mechanic, whose job it was to ensure safety. She recalled that he was laughing “uncomfortably”. But she told him that McLachlan had to be spoken to, that this was a safety issue.”

Articles in both media outlets relate the anguish that actors felt after the alleged events and how this affected their work performance. Continue reading “McLachlan accusations place more focus on the OHS of sexual harassment”

Victoria joins the push for licencing labour hire

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Victoria is the latest Australian State to introduce laws into Parliament that establish a licencing scheme for labour hire operators. The Labour Hire Licensing Bill 2017 was read into Parliament on 14 December 2017 (Hansard, pages 55-61)

The Bill is compatible with the laws passed recently in Queensland and South Australia which apply a universal licencing scheme rather than a sectoral one as preferred by some organisations.  This should make the scheme easier to administer as it removes demarcation disputes and, as pointed out by the Minister for Roads and Road Safety, Luke Donnellan, removes loopholes of opportunity for avoiding obligations – a critical consideration in a sector that has shown such disregard for legal obligations. Continue reading “Victoria joins the push for licencing labour hire”

Action demanded on sexual harassment in the entertainment industry

On 12 December 2017, part of Australia’s screen and television industry held a forum in Sydney about sexual harassment in the sector and what could be done to reduce this workplace hazard. This initiative occurred a day before an open letter was published about sexual harassment in the music industry.  There is a momentum for change on sexual harassment in the workplace, but it is at risk of resulting in a fragmented approach which will generate turf wars, confusion and, ultimately, ineffectiveness.

The

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Banking Royal Commission should not limit our thinking about culture

Australia is to have a Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.  What’s this to do with occupational health and safety (OHS)? Not a lot, at first blush.  OHS professionals and safety practitioners need to watch this Royal Commission because it could led to a fundamental reassessment of corporate culture. The OHS discipline is beginning to understand that it operates within that organisational, or corporate, culture; the same culture that will be examined over the next twelve to eighteen months.

SafetyAtWorkBlog has

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