In August this year Safe Work Australia released “Perceived Levels of Management Safety Empowerment and Justice among Australian Employers”. The justification for the document is to better understand leadership culture in line with the Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012-2022. It is always useful to understand how business owners and employers see workplace safety as only when we understand their “way of seeing” safety, can we effectively engage in improving occupational health and safety (OHS) but this report could have been so much more.
The perception survey on which the Perceived Levels report was based is an application of the Nordic Occupational Safety Climate Questionnaire (NOSACQ-50) which is “a tool for diagnosing occupational safety climate and evaluating safety climate interventions”.
The Perceived Levels report found
- Small business operators felt they didn’t display management safety empowerment and management safety justice enough.
- The level of activities in these area varied in different industry categories
- Most employers felt they displayed these activities frequently.
- Employers with apprentices and young workers felt they displayed these attitudes more.
“Management safety justice” may seem like an odd concept as it is relatively new to Australia and there is very little information available online to clarify. What might help is the list of questions that was asked in the survey on this topic: More…
Recently the Victorian Women Lawyers conducted a seminar into the outcomes of Victoria’s Royal Commission into Family Violence. SafetyAtWorkBlog attended even though the topic seems, initially, to have a tenuous link to occupational health and safety (OHS). Family violence is relevant to OHS through its influence on workplace mental ill-health, productivity and the need for cultural change.
The guest speakers included Rob Hulls, Rosie Batty, and Antoinette Braybrook (pictured).
Progress needs Trust
Batty stated early in the seminar that we are a “victim-blaming society”where victims do not know who they can trust and therefore hesitate to raise issues of abuse or injustice. The importance of trust in establishing a functional workplace culture has been discussed elsewhere. Raising issues with managers or authorities is a crucial element of OHS law based on the assumption that the issues will be taken seriously and be controlled to some degree; an assumption that varies with each workplace.
Batty also said that
“unless we see perpetrators being held accountable, why would you want to come forward and expose yourself, be vulnerable and unsafe?”
Accountability is a crucial element of establishing and maintaining a suitable workplace safety culture as reinforces fairness and justice. More…
The Spring 2016 edition of National Safety magazine includes a cover story on leadership written by me. In it John Lacey insists that safety leadership begins at the top. This position is supported by many business and occupational health and safety (OHS) advocates but this seems to me to be based on a misunderstanding of leadership.
In response to a question about leadership in small- to medium-sized businesses, Lacey said that leadership “applies to all”: More…
Following, ostensibly, the Four Corners exposé of labour hire exploitation in Australia last year, the Victorian Government established an inquiry. That Inquiry’s final report has been released with lots of recommendations, several pertaining to occupational health and safety (OHS). The Government’s media release response is HERE.
The main recommendations related to OHS are:
I recommend that the Model Work Health and Safety Act approach to regulating labour hire relationships be adopted in Victoria. In the absence of Victoria adopting wholesale the approach under the model laws, I recommend that Victoria adapt an approach which matches the substantive provisions under the model laws in this regard.
Late yesterday four adults were killed on the Thunder River Rapids ride at the Dreamworld theme park in Queensland Australia. Investigations are ongoing and it was only recently that the names of some of the victims were released. The first few days after any fatality are confusing as new information is uncovered, old concerns are voiced and our sympathies for the dead expressed. However there are usually some comments that are unhelpful, and this morning was no exception. More…