Safety insights from Return-To-Work Forum

A lot of statistics were presented at a workers’ compensation research seminar in Melbourne on 1 March 2018.  Monash University’s Insurance Work and Health Group provided a useful perspective on return-to-work matters with several points relevant to occupational health and safety (OHS).

Both Professor

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WorkSafe Victoria’s optimism is for the whole community

Marnie Williams, Executive Director of WorkSafe Victoria launched 2018 with a presentation at a breakfast seminar organised by the Safety Institute of Australia and hosted by Herbert Smith Freehills in Melbourne.  Williams illustrated that WorkSafe is very aware of community and business expectations on her authority’s performance and showed WorkSafe is very busy as it restructures around its relocation to Geelong and elsewhere  However it could change even more or in different, more sustainable, ways.

Williams’ presentation proposed a positive future where the actions and issues associated with occupational health and safety (OHS) broaden to involve the Victorian community and address safety and health concerns that may no longer fit within the established OHS definitions, approaches and strategies.

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Infographics still need some explanation

Infographics have become a popular format for distributing information about occupational health and safety (OHS) and other topics but they are often seen as a shortcut in consultation.  They can be visually engaging but are often too shallow as the writers and designers try to depict safety data in the simplest manner.  Terminology also needs to be consistent so that readability is most effective.

Recently Safe Work Australia produced

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Double anniversary for independent OHS voice

Free Access

template - safetyatworkblog-10-years.pngFebruary 2018 is an important month for the SafetyAtWorkBlog as it is the 10th anniversary of the blog’s operation and the 1st anniversary of our subscription service.

Firstly, I need to thank the over-100 subscribers who have shown their appreciation for an independent voice on workplace health and safety. I do not claim to be right but I do claim to be provocative and provide a fresh perspective on OHS.  I have had particularly positive feedback on the recent series of articles on sexual harassment and OHS.

The funds from subscriptions have provided me with the opportunity to attend local and international OHS conferences in 2017 and to provide exclusive reports back to subscribers.  It has also allowed me to commission some works from other OHS people outside of Australia – a unique report on the OHS of wildlife rangers will be appearing shortly.

For those several thousand followers who don’t subscribe, I hope you appreciate the occasional free-access articles, the statistics certainly indicate there are plenty of you out there.  Some basic stats for the SafetyAtWorkBlog in its first year of subscriptions include

  • 17,000 monthly visitor numbers (average),
  • 28,749 reads per month (average)
  • a subscriber base of 100 safety consultants, companies and regulators, and
  • over 2,700 email and blog followers who are notified each time a new article is uploaded.

I hope that the subscribers will resubscribe this year and that they will encourage others to.  Some will automatically have their subscriptions renew automatically, other subscriptions will expire (depending on the purchase process you chose) and require a manual purchase.

Regardless I think it is the best $200 you will spend on your OHS state of knowledge this year.

I need also to thank the tireless work of the people at Concatenate who designed the website from the ground up and continue to do so.

Best Regards and Thanks

Kevin Jones

Is a new OHS consultative model required?

A crucial element in achieving the aims of the independent review into WorkSafe Victoria, as discussed in an earlier SafetyAtWorkBlog article, seems to be the operation of the Occupational Health and Safety Advisory Committee (OHSAC).  It was difficult to obtain a list of the current members of OHSAC. Due to the appointments being considered “ministerial”, WorkSafe would not reveal memberships.

But it is worth considering whether this type of tripartite-dominated committee is the most suitable or effective way of consulting on occupational health and safety issues.  Can it represent the gig economy and new work arrangements?  Given the broadening of OHS into mental health and wellness, does the current membership still represent OHS? Where’s the Human Resources representative? Does OHSAC membership fit with the diversity we now expect from our company Boards? But, above all else, does the growth in social media make these often plodding, and sometimes secretive, processes ineffective or redundant?

A spokesperson for the Victorian Government has provided the following names of current OHSAC members as at December 2017.  SafetyAtWorkBlog has added titles and links to online member profiles:

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