On 17 August 2017, Matthew Swinbourn of the Australian Labor Party spoke, at length, in the Western Australian Parliament about workplace safety. His address did not seem to be prompted by an industrial relations dispute or a recent fatality but is supportive of general occupational health and safety (OHS) principles and the changes in WA law to improve compatibility with the Work Health and Safety laws and obligations in other States.
The response from the former Minister for Commerce and Liberal Party member, Michael Mischin, was a curious mix of rebuttals and was one of several Parliamentarians who chose to speak about workplace safety in that State’s Legislative Council.
According to Hansard for that day, Swinbourn mentioned the substantial cost burden on individual workers and their families of workplace injuries.
“Of these costs—this was a surprising figure to me—the overwhelming majority, 95 per cent, is borne by individuals and society. Workers bore 77 per cent of those costs, the community 18 per cent and employers five per cent.”
This week is Farm Safety Week in Australia. This means that a lot of organisations will be issuing media releases about how to either, improve safety performance (ie. reduce harm) or raise awareness of risks and safety. What is likely to be missing from the information is practical information. This is partly because of the unique nature of farmers – isolated, small businesses, politically conservative and working from home.
Safe Work Australia
On the first day of the week Safe Work Australia (SWA) released an
WorkSafe Victoria has released a discussion paper in support of its development of a WorkSafe Strategy 2030 but you wouldn’t know it. At the time of writing – there is no mention of it on the Facebook page, nothing on its news website. The paper is only available through this rarely used community engagement page.
One of this blog’s readers drew attention to this paragraph on page 8 which indicates that WorkSafe Victoria is basing part of this discussion paper on recent reports which seem to include the Independent OHS Review which is yet to be publicly released:
“A number of independent reviews undertaken recently have also highlighted opportunities for us to strengthen our approach to regulating health and safety in Victorian workplaces, and in further supporting injured workers.
We know in some cases we are not meeting the expectations of the community, and the outcomes of these reviews are informing the development of our strategy, and the way we deliver our services in the future.”
It would be good to know what failed community expectations are being referred to.
Recently Huffington Post Australia posted a video about male suicides called “Men are killing themselves to be real men”. Many of the speakers talked about their experiences at work or with work. The video is highly recommended.
SafetyAtWorkBlog had the opportunity to talk with the Associate Video Editor, Emily Verdouw. Below is an edited transcript.