This Sunday SafetyAtWorkBlog will be reporting from the 2018 National Conference of the Australian Labor Party (ALP). It promises to be extra lively as the country is only a few months away from a General Election and the ALP is tipped by most to win, or rather, the Liberal/National Coalition to lose. The intention is to watch for discussion of issues that relate to, or affect, the management of worker health and safety. There will be some, if one accepts that the most effective and sustainable occupational health and safety (OHS) solutions come from both a introduce multidisciplinary approach and that one that looks “at the source” of hazards.
The current draft National platform has a specific chapter on Safety At Work but the document is riddled with safety commitments. Curiously there is no specific mention of Industrial Manslaughter, although the ALP will
“ensure there are strong deterrents for employers who are responsible for workplace deaths”.
“The Aussie sausage sizzle safety scandal suggests safety is simply something that some citizens are certain starts slips in store and on cement. A safety source says that some stores are succumbing to scurrilous suggestions that makes safety sound silly.” (Copyright: Kevin Jones)
Some Australia occupational health and safety (OHS) professionals have been frothing up about the controversy (?) over the decision of Bunnings Warehouse to encourage the charities who run the sausage sizzles to place the cooked onions between the sausage and the slice of bread to reduce the risk of slips from onions falling off the top of the sausage in bread (a form of snack that some Australians call a “dog in a blanket”).
The issue that gained
As readers would realise, the transcripts for the Australian Senate inquiry into industrial deaths are fascinating. It is worth looking at the other presentations and questions on the day when the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry received a grilling as this provides insight into how to present to a government inquiry addressing occupational health and safety.
The Senate Committee has probably heard more from relatives of deceased workers than has any other similar inquiry, perhaps even the Workplace Bullying inquiry in which this Committee’s member Deborah O’Neill participated. This is an indication of the shift in OHS over the last few years where the human impacts of workplace safety failures, what some describe as the “lived experience”, gain an influence that used to sit with professionals and acknowledged subject matter experts.
The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) regularly updates the Corporate Governance Principles and Recommendations administered by its Corporate Governance Council. The Council has recently closed submissions on its consultation on the Fourth Edition. The submissions are worth looking at to see how occupational health and safety (OHS) fairs, and it is also worth looking for mentions of the “social licence to operate”.
The 3rd edition of the principles provides examples of what it means to be a “good corporate citizen” (page 19),
On July 19 2018, Marie Boland, who is conducting an independent review into Australia’s work health and safety (WHS) laws, spoke at the Closing The Loop conference, hosted by the Self Insurers of South Australia (SISA). Boland’s inquiry has been a little quiet as it undertakes its consultation and investigation but Boland provided some insight at the SISA conference.
According to Boland’s presentation (not available online),