Last week two young women, Grace Tame and Brittany Higgins, made speeches at the National Press Club about the sexual abuse of minors and an alleged sexual assault in Parl ment House, respectively, and the social changes required to prevent both risks. Both spoke about the need to prevent these abuses and assaults. OHS needs to understand and, in some ways, confront what is meant by preventing harm. The words of Tame and Higgins help with that need.
The Australian Institute of Health and Safety has released a new chapter of its Body of Knowledge project. This chapter is about occupational health and safety management systems. It offers a useful perspective but also identifies several of the general shortcomings of the BoK project.
Managers often say that we shouldn’t let the Good suffer in the pursuit of the Perfect. And there’s a bit of a parallel there between occupational health and safety (OHS) principles and the legislative requirement to achieve safety only as far as is reasonably practicable. So the aim is the Perfect and the practicable is the Good. But one of the traps of this sort of thinking is that you can’t establish what is the Good without first understanding what is the Perfect.Continue reading “The Good, the Perfect and the Practicable”
Recently Ben Davidson was critical of married Australian Member of Parliament, Alan Tudge, for calling for an improvement in Australian values during an affair with one of his staffers. Hypocrisy also exists in businesses where employers are told that Leadership involves talk AND action but are not allowed sufficient time to do or show any action, leading to the invisible leader.
Leaders display hypocrisy all the time, and it is easy to let them off the hook by saying this is “a developing situation”, “a journey”, or some other polite excuse. Still, these Leaders are also grown-ups who are supposed to know what they are doing and be aware of their own shortcomings. This hypocrisy is often supported by the leadership team, investors and shareholders who can push for messages without substance and are willing to accept a veneer of good values as long as the dividends continue.
Recently Paul Kells passed away. Paul had a major influence on workplace health and safety awareness and promotion around the world. He was the founder of the Safe Communities Foundation in Canada. I was able to interview Paul prior to his attendance at a Symposium on the “Global Perspectives on Effective Workplace Safety Strategies” in Melbourne, Australia on the 15th and 16th of March 2000.
The full interview from the SafetyAtWork magazine is reproduced below and on open access. I think this interview and the Youtube video insert below gives a good indication of Paul’s passion and pain and our loss. (Paul’s memorial service will be on October 8)
SAW: How did the Safe Communities Foundation start and where is it at?
PAUL: My son was 19 years old and he was killed in an accident in a small warehouse in a suburb of Toronto. In this little shop, it was a small business with only 4 or 5 people there. He got the job through a friend whose father ran the business. It was the second or third day on the job and he was asked to go back and decant some fluid from a large drum to some small vessels.Continue reading “2000 Interview with Paul Kells”
There are two core elements to the work of the occupational health and safety (OHS) professional – the management of Safety and the management of Safety Liability. In the simplest of terms, the former saves lives and the latter saves money. OHS (and politics) has always involved juggling these two extremes.
I have been told that any image loaded to Twitter becomes the property of Twitter. As a social media user, this type of situation seems common, but I was surprised when an image of unsafe work activities that I took and posted to Twitter appeared as an “Absolute Shocker” in a construction safety newsletter produced by WorkSafe Victoria. I sought more details from WorkSafe on the image’s use.