HR and OHS need to be playmates now more than ever

One of the fascinating elements of this year’s National Comcare conference is the conflict between the Human Resources (HR) approach to occupational health and safety (OHS) and workers compensation, and the OHS approach to psychosocial hazards.  This is not the fault of Comcare as the audience is a peculiar mix of both professions.

The difference was on display when some presenters focused on the post-incident care and, almost entirely, on interventions on the individual.  Other presenters focused on the prevention of physical and psychological injuries – the OHS approach.  The former seemed warmly embraced by the HR professionals.  There were other speakers, or parts of their presentations, where prevention was almost mentioned as an afterthought and even then omitting references to their organisation’s own OHS publications.

There has always been a structural and ideological separation of the professions

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The jury remains out on standing desks but maybe we are asking the wrong questions

The 20th Congress of the International Ergonomics Association in Florence Italy recently concluded.  Australia’s Professor David Caple attended and brought the latest research into the benefits of sit/stand desks to the September meeting of the Central Safety Group in Melbourne.  Caple said that evidence remains confusing on this increasingly popular piece of office furniture and echoed the modern approach to occupational health and safety (OHS) matters – look at what the work involves and how and where people do it.

Caple explained how large companies are moving away from open-plan offices to those designed around “activity-based work or

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Safety Culture debates could be psychologically unsafe

 

Tristan Casey and Andrew Hopkins speaking at SafetyConnect conference

Professor Andrew Hopkins is one of Australia’s most prominent critics of how the term “Safety Culture” is used by the occupational health and safety (OHS) profession and businesses generally.  Last week, Dr Tristan Casey followed Hopkins’ presentation at a Brisbane safety conference and was put on the spot as his presentation was not really compatible.  This happens at conferences and diversity of thought should be applauded but it is difficult for the second speaker and can be confusing for the audience.

Hopkins addressed seven propositions, each of which, challenge the management of OHS

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Power in simplicity – SafetyCONNECT

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Twelve months after the NSCA Foundation resurrected its occupational health and safety (OHS) conference program, SafetyCONNECT has settled into to a comfortable niche.  This year’s conference, in an established Brisbane location has attracted around 140 delegates and almost 20 exhibitors.  Perhaps most importantly is they have been able to attract entertaining and challenging local and international speakers. Continue reading “Power in simplicity – SafetyCONNECT”