Marnie Williams talks of farm safety, responsibility and a radical future

WorkSafe Victoria’s Executive Director, Health and Safety , Marnie Williams, has had a horrid week. Last Saturday, while being ill with a cold, she stood in for the Victorian Industrial Relations Minister at a Migrant Worker Forum, at which she was asked “what you gonna do about it?”. However she continues to make herself available, a crucial element for any leader of a regulatory agency.

Farm Safety

A couple of days later at a safety conference run by the Safety Institute of Australia,  SafetyAtWorkBlog accused WorkSafe of not doing enough about the safety of Victorian farmers. Williams rejected the accusation and forecast a new, and surprising, approach for agricultural safety.

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Tassie Coroner releases his safety findings on 7 quad bike deaths

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Coincidentally, as an article about quad bike safety was being uploaded to this blog, details of the release of Tasmanian coronial findings were received.  The findings were released by Coroner Simon Cooper on August 25 2017 and were not reported widely.

The Coroner investigated seven deaths related to quad bikes but only two occurred on workplaces or as part of performing work – Heather Richardson and Roger Larner. Curiously, WorkSafe Tasmania did not investigate these work-related deaths.   Continue reading “Tassie Coroner releases his safety findings on 7 quad bike deaths”

NSW Minister should take the tough decision on quad bike safety

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It was reported during the recent Farm Safety Week in Australia, that the  Federal Government is willing to work with the States to improve quad bike safety.  The New South Wales (NSW) Government has responded by saying the Federals should provide a national five-star safety rating system on the farm vehicles.  Such a system is widely supported until the discussion turns to the criteria to be included.

Some of the print reporting of the current discussions sound has the NSW Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation, Matt Kean, sounding like a politician – reasonable and measured.  However, the delivery of the same message on the NSW Country Hour program for July 18 2017 (at the 43 minute 40 second mark) is much tougher.  The Minister should be even tougher on this issue and take it up to the quad bike manufacturers. Continue reading “NSW Minister should take the tough decision on quad bike safety”

What is Farm Safety Week really saying about safety?

This week is Farm Safety Week in Australia.  This means that a lot of organisations will be issuing media releases about how to either, improve safety performance (ie. reduce harm) or raise awareness of risks and safety.  What is likely to be missing from the information is practical information.  This is partly because of the unique nature of farmers – isolated, small businesses, politically conservative and working from home.

Safe Work Australia

On the first day of the week Safe Work Australia (SWA) released an

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OHS and murder

In 2014, Glen Turner, an environmental officer with the New South Wales government was murdered will inspecting agricultural properties for illegal land clearing.  Turner was shot repeatedly by local farmer Ian Turnbull, and died at the scene in front of his work colleague, Robert Strange.  79-year-old Turnbull was found guilty and jailed but died 12 months into his prison term.  Due to pressure from Turner’s family, the NSW Government has announced a coronial inquest into the death and the circumstances leading up to it.

Several media reports acknowledge that Turner was killed while at work but the occupational health and safety (OHS) context of the shootings and the actions leading up to the incident has not been investigated except where it led to Turnbull’s trial.  Indications are that the coronial inquest will look at this perspective.

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