“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

Victoria’s Sentencing Advisory Council is conducting a public inquiry into sentencing and penalties for breaches of occupational health and safety (OHS). Public hearings are continuing, and the inquiry is receiving some well-deserved media attention.

ABC’s The Law Report recently devoted an episode to Industrial Manslaughter laws and the sentencing inquiry. The IM section of the episode was very familiar, but the sentencing inquiry was intriguing.

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The normalisation of quad bike safety

Segway has made a push into the Australian quad bike market, helping to fill the gap left by some vehicle manufacturers who would not accept safety improvements to their quad bikes. Prominent Australian agricultural newspaper, The Weekly Times, reviewed the latest Segway quad bike models. Rider safety was not mentioned specifically in the review, but it was visibly present in the accompanying image and reinforced by Segway’s video media relelase.

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Can we laugh at workplace health and safety?

Occupational health and safety (OHS) has never had a profile as high as that of the environmental protection movement. OHS has never had a single, focused advocate like Greenpeace to make it visible. OHS activists do not hang banners off Tower Bridge or throw eggs at politicians (yet). One of the characteristics shared by OHS and environmentalists is the lack of comedy. An existential crisis like climate change is hard to laugh about, just as workers are dying, but some would argue that such black comedy could be productive and promotional. A recent show on the BBC World Service, The Climate Question, looked at environmental humour, but there are OHS parallels.

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Leadership and Culture confusion is self-inflicted

Every occupational health and safety (OHS) conference over the last twenty years seems to have revolved around the twin concepts of culture and leadership. The fascination with these concepts deserves analysis as they are confusing, and sometimes conflicting, and this is unhelpful for those in the lower or middle order of the management structures who are trying to affect change.

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Initial reflections on the 23rd World OSH Congress

The 23rd World Congress on Safety and Health at Work has been a remarkable achievement, with 3000 delegates, at least two-thirds of whom are from outside of Australia. The most valuable elements of this Congress have been the opportunities to network, talk to people you’ve never met, and get new perspectives. What has been a little peculiar was the presentations or, rather, the format of the sessions.

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Exclusive content from 23rd World Congress on Safety and Health at Work

Next week, the 23rd World Congress on Safety and Health at Work will occur in Sydney, Australia, with hundreds, maybe even thousands, of delegates from Australia and abroad. I will be reporting on the Congress from before it starts on Monday to its conclusion on Thursday with articles each day, at least a wrap-up of each day and exclusive interviews with global occupational health and safety (OHS) speakers and delegates.

Now is a great time to subscribe to the SafetyAtWorkBlog, starting at only A$24 for a monthly option. Links to all new articles will be emailed to you as they are posted, and you also have access to over 3,000 OHS-related articles, including exclusive content from the 21st World Congress in Singapore from 2017.

And if you are attending the Congress, stop me to say hi, take a selfie, or tell me about your lived experience with OHS.

Kevin Jones

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