There are many similarities between the management of occupational health and safety (OHS) and environment protection. Both seek to prevent and/or mitigate harm, and both have similarly focussed legislation. However, this similarity extends to vulnerabilities in each approach. Neither discipline is solely responsible for the lack of progress in prevention and protection, but both have not realised their potential for change.
On the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) website, Elizabeth Byrne has written about the decade-long effort of Kay Catanzariti to gain justice, and an apology, for the death of her son, Ben. Catanzariti has been a strong advocate for workplace health and safety for a long time. The ABC article quotes Catanzariti:
“Mrs Catanzariti says her experience shows that investigators need more expertise. “I want a federal investigation team for deaths on worksites,” she says.”
It is impossible to write about occupational health and safety (OHS) without mentioning hypocrisy – when one’s actions fail to meet the commitments we espouse. An important example was identified by a SafetyAtWorkBlog reader concerning the damning inquiry into Queensland’s public sector culture.
Several years ago, Queensland’s work health and safety authority issued a “Five year strategic plan for work health and safety in Queensland 2019 -2023” infographic that states this Goal:
“Queensland Government is a model client/employer and leader in work health and safety.”
Dr Kelly Jaunzems is writing her thesis on how we communicate on occupational health and safety issues. Her thesis has been embargoed for a few more years, but she released some information in March 2022. Dr Jaunzems said:
“Working safely depends upon the successful sending and receiving of relevant information, in accessible, easy to read formats. If that information is not received, not understood, misunderstood, not implemented or actioned, then an organisation has not complied with the legislation. And most importantly, ineffective OSH communication jeopardises workers safety…”
There are more work health and safety lessons from a Near Miss incident than a workplace death. There is also more information about how occupational health and safety (OHS) should be managed in an Enforceable Undertaking (EU) than there is from a prosecution.
Recently there were several EU’s in Queensland that illustrated these OHS management lessons. Here’s a discussion about one of them
Recently the Chamber of Minerals & Energy of Western Australia (CME) released a guideline on alcohol consumption in the mining sector. It is a curious document reflecting many of the significant corporate misunderstandings about occupational health and safety (OHS).
This article is not primarily about alcohol consumption guidelines, drink limits, or snacks with alcohol or moderation. The misunderstandings are displayed through the language used in CME’s media release, which seems to be the default setting for corporate discussions of OHS.
Modern-day events such as conferences, seminars and awards nights rely on social media strategies to maximise the value of the event and the communication opportunities they afford. This year the WorkSafe Victoria Awards night seems to have applied a thin social media strategy even though it has important stories to tell.
Usually, signs, brochures, information booklets and even tables mention the social media hashtag that the event organisers want the audience to use to promote and record the event. This year WorkSafe Victoria mentioned #WSAwards21 at the night’s start and never again. The hashtag was nowhere to be seen. This may be a major factor in the very low Twitter activity.
As of the time of writing, Twitter had 29 mentions of the #WSAwards21 hashtag, most posted by WorkSafe itself. I tweeted five of them. The audience members or finalists have tweeted only three times.