Several weeks ago I was asked by a trade unionist to make a submission to the Australian Government explaining how the impending Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) would be bad for worker safety. I acknowledged concerns over labour relations but pointed out that no matter who is working in an Australian workplace, their safety must be managed. Whether they are a migrant worker or full-time employee was not relevant to the management of their occupational health and safety (OHS). The trade unionist was disappointed.
There is a legislative basis for occupational health and safety (OHS) but before the laws, there was morality and it is this morality to which most OHS professionals will refer when asked why they work in Safety. But I know no more about morality than anyone else. So what do I do in these situations? I get a book.
The book I chose was by
I was honoured to speak recently at the monthly meeting of the Central Safety Group. As the meeting occurred during Safe Work Australia Month it seemed appropriate to stir debate about the nature of occupational health and safety (OHS) and how it applied.
Here is a selection of points that I intended to make. Discussion developed in a manner that allowed for many of these to be only touched upon but that was the intention of the presentation – to encourage OHS professionals to talk about OHS rather than about specific hazards. Continue reading “Stirring the OHS pot”
Testing for drug and alcohol effects in workplaces sounds sensible but what do you do when there is no evidence that it improves worker safety or reduces risk? Apparently ignore the evidence, create industrial tension and impose unnecessary costs on industry.
The Australian national government and the Victorian (State) government have both pledged to introduce drug and alcohol testing for the construction sector. The Victorian Government also promised to introduce drug and alcohol testing for parliamentarians but everyone expects a backdown on that election pledge.
Recently two researchers in Adelaide, Ken Pidd and Anne Roche published a research paper in Accident Analysis & Prevention asking “how effective is drug testing as a workplace safety strategy?“. The abstract states:
“…the evidence base for the effectiveness of testing in improving workplace safety is at best tenuous.”