If you don’t sound the alarm, who will?

Last week the Australian Institute of Health and Safety (AIHS) National Conference contained some excellent speakers and one or two stinkers. (I will not be reporting on the last speaker of the conference, who spent his first ten minutes “roasting”. i.e. insulting the delegates!) Safe Work Australia’s Marie Boland was an important and informative speaker who nudged the occupational health and safety profession to be more active.

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Workplace suicides must be included in mental health discussions

[This article discusses suicide]

WorkSafe Victoria has charged a government agency with breaching occupational health and safety (OHS) laws over the suicide of an employee. The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has a different perspective. Several OHS researchers, academics and trade union lobbyists are battling the HSE to become more involved with investigating suicides that have the potential to be related to work. The Australian circumstance is a little different.

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RUOK? needs a refresh

RUOK? Day is held in September each year in Australia. The workplace suicide awareness campaign has been very successful, but over time, I have observed a decline in effectiveness, certainly at the local communication level. It may be a victim of its own success as almost all awareness campaigns struggle to maintain their original freshness. Perhaps it is time for a change. Perhaps that change is being forced upon us.

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Silicosis campaign is about safety but is also about politics

The calls for banning engineered stone‘s importation are curious and likely to be acted on later this week.

Politicians, unions and some OHS associations have undertaken a risk assessment and determined that elimination is the most effective harm prevention strategy. Previous risk assessments of silicosis have been reported on in this blog for some time without banning the material. The risks have not changed even with increased inspection and enforcement. So what has changed? Politics.

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Dan Andrews and “safe jobs” and People versus Profit

“Jobs” is a term regularly used in election campaigns as creating jobs can provide wealth directly to those working and less directly to their employers. But rarely are “safe jobs” mentioned.  The Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews mentioned “safe jobs” in his campaign speech for the election later this month.  Perhaps more interesting is his pledge to put people before profit.

Andrews was speaking of his success in creating 600,000 jobs since he came to power eight years ago.  He said:

“…..when we came to government, we promised we’d get Victoria back to work. Since then, we’ve created nearly 600,000 jobs. More than 300,000 since September 2020. But it’s not just jobs. We want them to be good, secure, safe jobs. It’s why we introduced Australia’s first-ever wage theft laws. And it’s why we made workplace manslaughter exactly what it is: a crime. But when it comes to making Victoria stronger, safer and fairer, our work is far from over.”

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SafeWorkSA’s approach to psychological harm is as much as it can do but doesn’t have to be

The harm presented by working in Australia’s mining sector has been a concern for a long time. Over the last decade or two, the psychosocial harm from the same work has come to the fore. The occupational health and safety (OHS) responsibility sits clearly with the employers who, in Australia, are often well-resourced national and international corporations. Recently SafeWorkSA issued a media release entitled “Sexual harassment in mining sparks campaign“. SafetyAtWorkBlog took the opportunity to put some questions to the South Australia OHS agency, to which it has responded.

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Worksafe Victoria’s new gendered violence campaign

WorkSafe Victoria has actively campaigned against occupational violence for the last few years. The pandemic, understandably, brought the focus onto violence against emergency services workers and healthcare staff. Recently the campaign has focussed on gendered violence at work. The intention is to be inclusive, to address the variety of violent acts and the variety of people gendered violence affects, but it is not as inclusive as it could be.

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