All Australian businesses are experiencing disruption. Some are embracing this as Change, but not enough. As occupational health and safety (OHS) is an unavoidable part of running a business, it is being similarly disrupted. So what can one do? I chose to read a short book called “On Disruption”. I purchased it because of the title and I had recently shared the media room at the ALP National Conference with the author, Katherine Murphy. That the book wasn’t about OHS but about the disruption experienced by journalism, newspaper publishing and mainstream media, didn’t bother me as, being a blogger, it should still be of interest either way.
And it was. But what was surprising were the parallels between journalism and OHS. I shouldn’t have been surprised as both are, or claim to be, professions.
It is difficult to make a book about occupational health and safety (OHS) law interesting. Some try with creative design but the most successful is when laws are interpreted into real world circumstances. Thankfully Breen Creighton and Peter Rozen have written the latter in the 4th edition of Health and Safety Law in Victoria. Independent Australian publishers, Federation Press, recognise the significance of this edition:
“This is an entirely re-written and greatly expanded edition of this standard text on occupational health and safety law in Victoria….[and]
…Critically, the new edition locates the 2004 Victorian Act firmly in the context of the harmonised work health and safety regime…”
This discussion of context lifts this book from an analysis of one State’s OHS laws to an analysis of harmonisation, which may be offer a useful counterpoint to
Managing occupational health and safety (OHS) is most successful when it considers a range of perspectives or disciplines in identifying practicable solutions. Books are often successful in a similar multidisciplinary way but it is becoming rarer for books to contain a collection of perspectives. A new book has been published on Safety Culture which matches this multidisciplinary approach.
Recently the 20th anniversary of the Esso Longford disaster was commemorated in Victoria. Coinciding with this anniversary was the release of a book about the disaster and its personal aftermath, Workers’ Inferno, written by Ramsina Lee.
This book has been in development for many, many years and the Lee’s writing talent is on display in the structure of the book and the stories within. These stories largely linear But the multiple strands allow Lee to jump from one to the other providing a variety tone.
Many have been claiming that the era of neoliberal economics and the associated politics is over or, at least, coughing up blood. However, occupational health and safety (OHS) is rarely discussed in terms of the neoliberal impacts, and vice versa, yet many of the business frustrations with red tape, regulatory enforcement strategies, reporting mechanisms and requirements and others have changed how OHS has been managed and interpreted.
One of the most readable analyses of neoliberalism in Australia comes from