Quirky safety cards

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Conferences usually provide delegates with goodie bags of promotional material from sponsors and speakers. Most of it is dross but the bags often include quirky items such as drink bottles, stress balls, baseball hats, sunscreen, which can also be silly, but occasionally there are some that are useful and notable.

SafeWorkNSW produced a deck of playing cards where safety statements or aphorisms replaced the pictures of two-headed royalty and card symbols. This is the type of item that may be left in a glovebox of a car for times of imposed idleness, but I have only seen playing cards used once on a worksite (exempting the playing of Uno by tax office employees in the early 1980s at the morning break after the tea ladies brought chocolate and cream buns). A construction site I was working at was “rained off” one day and the cards came out.

The use of such safety playing cards is intended to be a useful subliminal way of reminding workers of the importance of safety. Given that the longevity and success fo safety posters is very limited, the card strategy may be worth considering by other organisations.

If you have an example of a useful OHS promotional item, please send through an image and/or a description via this email link.

Kevin Jones

Mental Health conference assessment

As you could guess from some recent blog posts, the Criterion Conference called “Improving Integrated Approaches to Workplace Mental Health” conducted with the support of the Australian Institute of Health and Safety, was well worth attending as many of the speakers were excellent. What was missing was a strong voice of advocacy on behalf of the Human Resources (HR) profession to counter or balance the strong occupational health and safety (OHS) focus.

Below is a summary of some of the important points made by the conference speakers (or at least those who did not impose restrictions).

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Integration struggles at workplace mental health conference

The Criterion Conference called “Improving Integrated Approaches to Workplace Mental Health” is a curious one. There is a lot of information about workplace mental health but a lot less about a “integrated approach”.

The audience had a good mix of delegates from Australian States and as well as occupations of Human Resources (HR) and Occupational Health and Safety (OHS), as well as some State Safety Regulators. The separate silos of HR and OHS were on display even though it is these very disciplines that must be integrated for Australian businesses to truly grasp how mental ill-health can be prevented. One example of the gap could be seen in relation to resilience training.

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What does a psychological near miss look like?

This week a workplace mental conference has been running in Sydney with some excellent speakers. The theme is to improve integrated approaches to workplace mental health in the belief that progress can be most effective when workplace silos and professional disciplines share information and actively listen.

However, resistance to change continues and silos continue to exist even if the interconnecting bridges are half-formed. One half-formed bridge was illustrated when I put this question to a panel discussion:

“What does a psychological near-miss look like?”

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Political Science (finally) comes to OHS

Improvement in occupational health and safety (OHS) standards has always been the intention of OHS laws. Parallel to this is the intention of the OHS, and allied, professions to continuously improve health and safety through the prevention of harm. However, political leadership on OHS has been scarce over the last few years, especially in the national governments of the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia. So, it is necessary to look beyond the party politics to other sources of change.

Professor Maureen Dollard speaking at the 2019 ANZSOM Scientific Meeting in Adelaide

At the recent scientific meeting of the Australia and New Zealand Society of Occupational Medicine in Adelaide, prominent academic, Professor Maureen Dollard, introduced a much- needed element of political science into her presentation which was titled “Work Organisation and Psychosocial Factors”. SafetyAtWorkBlog was able to ask Dollard, and fellow presenter Professor Sally Ferguson, about this political context.

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