Another safety awards night

October each year contains several occupational health and safety (OHS) award ceremonies. Those operated by State OHS regulators used to feed into a national awards night in April hosted by Safe Work Australia, but that fell over. The rejuvenated Safety Institute of Australia, now renamed the Australian Institute of Health and Safety (AIHS) has taken the plunge setting up a new national award process in competition to that operated for many years by the NSCA Foundation and, to a lesser extent, the awards by the various State-based OHS regulators..

According to a media release from the AIHS:

“The Australian Institute of Health & Safety (AIHS) is proud to announce the creation of the Australian Workplace Health & Safety Awards (AWHSA), to be held 27 May 2020 at the Melbourne Convention Centre, and annually thereafter”

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“We need to act together to help me get my act together”

On October 21 2019, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews posted on Facebook in support of his government’s move to introduce Industrial Manslaughter (IM) laws. He chose the death of Jacob Kermeen and its effect on the family in support of the need for these laws.

It is surely a coincidence that a fatality from a trench collapse was chosen for this exercise. Some of the leading advocates for IM laws are the relatives of two workers who died from a trench collapse in Ballarat in March 2018, a case being prosecuted by WorkSafe Victoria.

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Talk business, talk safety

Successful management of occupational health and safety (OHS) requires reciprocal, active dialogues between workers and their managers. In OHS terms this is Consultation. To provide some structure to that consultation, it is becoming more common to designate some workers as “Safety Champions”.

This October, Safe Work Australia is promoting its National Safe Work Month urging everyone to be a “Safety Champion”. This is more about the act of championing safety than having a Safety Champion title. In the past, SWA has used alternate terms such as “Safety Ambassador” but it still struggles to enliven the conversations about OHS in workplaces, partly because of its passive messaging.

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The economics, and politics, of prevention and the cost of doing nothing

LtoR: Terry Nolan, Rod Campbell, Tony Dudley, Rosemary Calder

On July 9 2019, the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) conducted a lunchtime seminar in Melbourne about “the economics of prevention“. The event was supported by GlaxoSmithKline who launched a report about the value of vaccines so the lunch promised to be very medical but that quickly changed when Rod Campbell of The Australia Institute (a late replacement for Richard Denniss) spoke. On the issue of cost-benefit analysis, an important consideration in occupational health and safety (OHS) , Campbell was blunt:

“A huge amount of government decisions are not made by informed economic analysis. They’re made by political decisions.”

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One billboard outside Melbourne, Victoria

The Safety Institute of Australia (SIA) is likely to have a different brand name in a couple of months.  Following a member survey some weeks ago SIA Board members have been travelling Australia consulting with members.  This may seem a bit arse about face but a process without consultation would have been a major problem.

Last night was Melbourne’s turn with a forum of about a dozen people hosted by Naomi Kemp.  The survey results are inconclusive so should the rebranding exercise proceed?

Kemp provided some context

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