David Provan recently provided access to one of his research papers through LinkedIn while it is open. The paper is a literature review of the factors shaping the role of a safety professional. It is a difficult and confusing read until one reaches the Conclusion. This is not Provan’s fault but is an indication of the confusing and conflicting roles, actions, obligations and qualifications of the occupational health and safety (OHS) professional revealed by the research literature.
However, the Conclusion provides a good summary of all the literature with some useful strategies to improve the OHS conversation.
Earlier this month SafetyAtWorkBlog published an article based on an anecdote by Todd Conklin about a glove. There was much more that Conklin shared at the SafeGuard conference in New Zealand. Below are several of his slides/aphorisms/questions that may challenge the way you think about managing occupational health and safety (OHS) in your workplace.
The SafeGuard conference in Auckland this week has provided some excellent occupational health and safety (OHS) insights but the standout, on Day 1, was the end of the day panel. Often these are dull and given to less than half the audience who have either had children to collect or choose to go to the casino next door.
This panel comprised two representatives of Contact Energy,
The latest in our series of profiles on researchers who are involved with occupational health and safety research is Dr Tim White. He holds the degrees of Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) and Doctor of Philosophy from the University of New South Wales (UNSW). His most recent appointment was as Lecturer and Researcher in Mechanical Design at UNSW.
After 10 years of working casually as a consultant while also holding salaried positions, Dr White founded Forensic Mechanical Engineers in 2013 and now works full time as a forensic engineer and expert witness. He is based in Bathurst, NSW but travels extensively for work, often flying himself to regional locations.
What attracted you to looking at workplace health and safety? Did you fall into it or always have an interest?
I feel like I just fell into it, although now that I look back, I suppose that my career progression was reasonably intuitive. A farming background prior to my first engineering degree (and subsequent time in industry) meant that I was never going to be content doing the same thing as most of my peers. Although it was not a main consideration at the time, the PhD and progression into academia was what ultimately equipped me with the ability to now work flexibly in a role where I feel as though I am – clichés aside – doing something interesting as well as making a difference.
On May 1 2017 safetyculture released an e-book called “Confused about Workplace Safety?” intended to address questions commonly asked of them. The topic of most interest is their advocacy of Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS), an activity discussed earlier by SafetyAtWorkBlog.
safetyculture states up front that SWMS are for “high risk construction work” as defined by occupational health and safety (OHS) legislation and lists the activities that make up high risk construction work. But then poses a confusing question:
“So why did my principal contractor request that I supply a SWMS for the plastering or turf laying job I just did?”
Several readers have expressed curiosity over the WorkSafe Legislative Amendment Bill currently in the Victorian Parliament and mentioned by lawyer Steve Bell last week. Bell pointed to a couple of issues in the Bill and gave the impression that the Bill was aimed at tidying up some administration. Several of the issues raised in the Bill deserve contemplation.
The Bill is still not through Parliament. The next stage of the process will occur on April 5, 2017 but the Minster’s
Steve Bell is a partner with Hebert Smith Freehills (HSF) in Melbourne, Australia. As many law firms do, HSF conducts several events each year to inform clients and others of occupational health and safety (OHS) and labour relations issues. In March 2017 Bell, who is the regular host at these events, spoke at a breakfast seminar held jointly with the Safety Institute of Australia, and identified several safety issues as becoming prominent in 2017:
- Increased penalties
- The risk of complacency
- Increased interplay between OHS and industrial relations
- Focus on public safety elements of OHS
- the review of regulations.
Below are some thoughts on the issues raised by Steve Bell.
Part of good corporate governance is transparency. A core element of occupational health and safety (OHS) is effective consultation. These two business practices seem compatible in that they address what is good for business and what is good for the workers. But there is a snake in this garden of safety – Legal Professional Privilege (LPP).
As part of the research for a recent article on Gender and Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) SafetyAtWorkBlog was able to interview Lisa Griffiths, Chief Executive Officer of OzChild and former General Manager Health and Safety at WorkSafe Victoria. Gender equality and diversity may no seem to be an OHS issue but it is a vital element of the legislative obligation to consult and the business imperative of making that decision-making process to be a robust and effective as possible. Too many past decisions have come from group-think and “yes men” and diversity of thought through diversity of person is desperately needed in modern safety management.
Below are some of the questions put to her, and her responses Continue reading “Gender diversity and effective decision making”