Where does OHS fit?

Any assessment of ethics in relation to occupational health and safety (OHS) is worthwhile and so the release of a chapter on ethics by the Australian Institute of Health and Safety (AIHS) generated some excitement. That excitement diminished somewhat as this Chapter of the Body of Knowledge (BoK) dealt with ethics in a very narrow context – “Ethics and Professional Practice“.

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Questions asked on mining death data

The Australian newspaper published an article from the The Wall Street Journal titled “The hidden death toll from mining” (paywalled), written by Alistair Macdonald and others that questions the workplace health and safety prominence that is given to the minerals/materials sector. The opening paragraph is:

” Many mining deaths aren’t captured by global safety statistics, making the industry seem safer than it is to regulators, investors and consumers.”

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Most-read OHS articles in 2019

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This past week most media have been reflecting on the last twelve months or the decade. There are two ways of applying this practice to the SafetyAtWorkBlog – statistics and most-read. Let’s look at statistics first.

This year the SafetyAtWorkBlog posted 225 articles, not including this one, with an average word count of 1,030 words – the equivalent of a 230,000 word book on occupational health and safety (OHS). For those Annual subscribers that equates to just over $1.00 per article which I think is a pretty good return.

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“Moral Harassment” = Workplace Bullying. France Telecom lessons

The France Telecom suicide saga has reached a conclusion with a French Court sending several of company’s former executives to jail as a result of “collective moral harassment”. This will have very little impact on the management of occupational health and safety (OHS) in Australia because of the timing and inadequate translation and context.

“Moral Harassment” is a term that is absent from the Australian OHS lexicon. One equivalent term is “mobbing” but this is also an uncommon term in Australia. Australia’s equivalent is “workplace bullying” as mentioned in research by Katherine Lippel of the University of Ottawa in 2011 (pages 1-2).

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Negligence or Neglect

At the moment, there is a growing concern about accountability of political leaders, business executives and established institutions. In Australia’s occupational health and safety (OHS) community that has manifested in a movement to introduce Industrial Manslaughter (IM) laws aimed at negligent employers. These laws have caused some business sectors and leaders to, figuratively, shit themselves. But this fear exists largely when looking at business and OHS through a legal compliance perspective. Breaking down Negligence to a concept that many more people understand – Neglect – may help some better accept their accountability for safe and healthy workplaces.

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