The trade union movement was instrumental in showing that workplace bullying was a pervasive problem in Australian workplaces. Many Codes of Practice and guidances for workplace bullying and occupational violence were written shortly after the action by the Australian Council of Trade Unions almost two decades ago. But, for some reason, although sexual harassment was mentioned in those early documents, it never received the attention in occupational health and safety (OHS) circles that, in hindsight, it should have.
Perhaps a more sustainable and effective strategy would be to focus on the “harassment” rather than the “sexual”, or in
A reader recently asked why I haven’t written about the recent retirement of Professor Michael Quinlan. Michael has featured in many SafetyAtWorkBlog articles over many years and has been a major supporter for industrial, labour relations and occupational health and safety research in Australia and elsewhere for a long time.
He has many legacies but this article will focus on one tool he developed with his associate Phillip Bohle – the Pressure, Disorganisation and Regulatory Failure (PDR) model. PDR is explained at length in this excellent 2011 research paper written with Elsa Underhill and is summarised in the table below:
Occupational health and safety (OHS) is easy. Change is hard. OHS can identify workplace hazards and risks but it is the employer or business owner or Person Conducting Business or Undertaking (PCBU) who needs to make the decision to change. All of this activity occurs within, and due to, the culture of each workplace and work location. OHS lives within, and affects, each company’s organisational culture but a safety subculture is almost invisible, so it is worth looking at the broader organisational culture and there is no better show, at the moment in Australia, than The Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry (the Banking Royal Commission).
Public submissions are littered with references to culture but it is worth looking more closely at what one of the corporate financial regulators said in a submission in April 2018. The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) wrote:
In late July 2018, the Victorian Auditor-General Office (VAGO) released a report into the insurance risks of several Victorian local councils. It is reasonable to expect the costs of workers’ compensation insurance to be addressed in the report but this was not the case. Although it is clearly an insurance product, the Auditor-General excluded workers’ compensation insurance. This position continues to sideline workers’ compensation implying to Victorian Councils, if not businesses, that it is less important than other business insurances.
The best example of this implication is found on page 48 of the report in a graph
Recently the Safety Institute of Australia (SIA) published an opinion piece about the new international Standard for Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems, ISO45001. The article professed to answer the question “what does ISO 45001 mean for OHS professionals?” Below is the SafetyAtWorkBlog’s response to that question based on the points raised by the SIA.
The SIA’s Roland Tan states that ISO45001
“provides an opportunity to benchmark with global best practice in managing OHS risks and initiate opportunities to improve OHS performance.”
Australian OHS professionals need to ask whether their clients need to benchmark globally. If not, how is ISO45001 relevant? It is not. You would be wasting everyone’s time.