Asbestos – out of sight but not out of mind in Asia

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By Melody Kemp

Hmong uplander with child. Source: Melody Kemp

Asbestos resembles polio. Just when you think it’s beaten, it returns like some ghoul. If you think this is overly dramatic, last year Laos was struck by a polio outbreak. This year we learned that Laos now ranks amongst the globe’s major importers of asbestos. And it’s driven by cynical market forces targeting poorer nations, inadvertently promoted by international aid. Continue reading “Asbestos – out of sight but not out of mind in Asia”

Teaching OHS in China

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Guest post from Col Finnie of fini:ohs :

col-finnie-china-1This year (2016) I had two 2-month stints teaching OHS and risk management in Sichuan China as a casual employee for a Melbourne-based TAFE.  It was quite a learning experience. And I thought to pass on a bit of the stuff I learned for others who might find themselves doing teaching or training in the economic powerhouse that is China. A total of 4 months teaching does not an expert make: so the “musings” here should be treated as intended: random observations from a China “newbie” for other newbies.

Both gigs were at a college in Deyang, a relatively small western region city (4 million pop. or thereabouts).  Keep in mind “the vibe” changes a lot depending on size of the city.  The capital of Sichuan is Chengdu, 80 km or so south-west of Deyang, and the vibe in that city of 14 and a bit million is significantly different to Deyang. Continue reading “Teaching OHS in China”

Safety Asia Summit 2015

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Safety Summit Asia-KL-9th12Mar2015I have been invited to speak at the Safety Asia Summit in Kuala Lumpur in March 2015. My presentation will focus on safety communications.  My blurb in the conference program lists the following points:

  • “Ways of Seeing” – the importance of John Berger’s work
  •  The importance of language in the reframing of Safety
  • Writing about safety as a professional development tool
  • Safety leadership and classical literature
  • Embracing the importance of stories

I am in the midst of finalising my presentation and would welcome any input or stories from SafetyAtWorkBlog readers to assist me.  Use the link below to contact me directly.

Kevin Jones

Employee welfare must have a “culturally aware” context

iStock_000037261798SmallIn July 22 2014 Dr. Dave Sharar, Managing Director of  Chestnut Global Health, stated:

“Business leaders here and abroad are starting to understand the need for systematic, scientifically proven approaches in alleviating the behaviors and conditions that compromise employee performance.  Managing the stress and the counterproductive behaviors that often result, is critical — but the key to success when engaging different populations in different parts of the world is to place these programs in a ‘culturally aware’ context, which lowers barriers and improves both engagement and outcomes.”

Most of the quote is inarguable and links the management of stress to the management of productivity.  However what was intriguing was the later part of the quote about locating stress management programs in a culturally aware context in different parts of the world.  SafetyAtWorkBlog established a quick dialogue with Dr Sharar about the quote. Below is the result.

A major element of Corporate Social Responsibility has been to try to apply a safety management system across many workplaces that is consistent with a uniform corporate program and values.  How can one address the culturally attuned context while still addressing the core corporate safety values?

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The Social Media is the Message

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Melody Kemp in Vientiane writes:

The apoplectic brouhaha that greeted Wikileaks in the past few months has shown us the power of the internet to upstage, discomfit and enrage.  Governments like corporations operate under a variety of ‘commercial-in-confidence’ scores, the cadence of which changes with the degree of self interest at hand.  That Wikileaks has been disclosing documents for years is of no consequence to our reactionary leaders.  Just as labour groups and activists, long been warning industry about workplace hazards, have been greeted with similarly leaden ears.

Earlier this year, a delegation of international labour activists and trade union leaders visited Laos.  While being taken around various work sites by Lao trade union and government officials, they were horrified to find bags of asbestos labeled Produced In China in one roofing tile fabrication shop.  They should not have been surprised.  The nominal communist bloc states of Asia have close trade, military and strategic ties.  In that bloc the proletariat has little status and, like mushrooms, are generally kept in the dark.

One of Lao’s four Vice Presidents is known to foster and enjoy close and at times unseemly business relationships with Yunnan, Continue reading “The Social Media is the Message”