If you build it, they will come

Cover of SIA_draft_Strategic_Plan_ConsulationThe Safety Institute of Australia (SIA) continues to rebuild its reputation and its credibility.  In February 2016 it released a draft Strategic Planning Framework and is seeking public comment. (Consultation closes on March 25)  A major difference in this approach is that the SIA is encouraging this draft plan to be distributed widely, outside of the SIA’s membership and is seeking comments from non-members.  The SIA has never been known for its transparency and this new openness is to be applauded.

Interested parties are encouraged to provide the SIA with as much feedback as possible on the draft framework. Continue reading “If you build it, they will come”

Victoria announces a new OHS review

Cover of -Improving-Workplace-Safety-For-VictoriansOn 11 February 2016, the Victorian Government announced a review into occupational health and safety (OHS) but you would hardly have noticed. The media release gained little attention in any of the mainstream press and yet its terms of reference are quite broad.  It will be interesting to see how the review panel sets its agenda.

But, hang on, wasn’t there already some sort of review into WorkSafe Victoria?

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Just Culture and Restorative Justice

Sometimes it is better to read Sidney Dekker than listen to him.  His presentation style is lively but his research and thoughts deserve more measured analysis than a conference or seminar presentation allows.  A recent research paper, “‘Just culture:’ Improving safety by achieving substantive, procedural and restorative justice“, shows the advantage of reading over watching.

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Sex Work regulations review safety obligations

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2000 edition of SafetyATWORK magazine addressing some of the OHS issues in brothels

Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) is seeking public comment on some proposed revisions of the Sex Work Regulations.  Several revisions specifically address workplace safety issues but also indicate out-of-date thinking on worker safety and safety management.

Victoria licences its brothels and, as such, the occupational health and safety (OHS) laws apply as they do to all workplaces. However, the regulators of the sex industry seem to perceive OHS usually in terms of sexual health and hygiene even though statistics have shown that these issues are low risk hazards. This perception has lasted well over a decade as this 2000 article from National Safety magazine shows. Continue reading “Sex Work regulations review safety obligations”

Can OHS achieve change in a neoliberal world?

The operation of the European Union is a mystery to everyone outside the EU and to most people in the EU.  Any organisation that juggles the legislation of over 20 countries has a thankless task but some of the work being undertaken by occupational health and safety (OHS) advocates provides a clarity on power relationships between employers and workers. I never tire of reading articles and editorials by Laurent Vogel of the European Trade Union Institute. Below is an excerpt from his editorial in the Autumn-Winter 2015 edition of HesaMag: Continue reading “Can OHS achieve change in a neoliberal world?”

Political disregard for OHS…. again

In 2014 during an election campaign (now Premier of Victoria) Daniel Andrews stated:

“Labor will introduce random breath testing for all Members of Parliament during sitting weeks” and

“Labor will also legislate to give the Chief Justice, the Chief Judge and the Chief Magistrate the power to require these random tests of the judiciary.”

At the time potential drug and alcohol testing on Victorian construction sites was topical.

This week the first pledge was dropped and the second was obfuscated.  Where was the safety justification for this pledge in the first place? What was Andrews thinking?

Continue reading “Political disregard for OHS…. again”

Talking about safety – old skills in new ways

Australia’s latest Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has a strong background in technology investment and is urging the country to embrace innovation.  This has generated a focus on information technology start-ups but it may also create opportunities for occupational health and safety (OHS) professionals, if they are willing to change.

There has been a quick growth in

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OHS and the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Cover of TPP Text 061115Several weeks ago I was asked by a trade unionist to make a submission to the Australian Government explaining how the impending Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) would be bad for worker safety.  I acknowledged concerns over labour relations but pointed out that no matter who is working in an Australian workplace, their safety must be managed.  Whether they are a migrant worker or full-time employee was not relevant to the management of their occupational health and safety (OHS).  The trade unionist was disappointed.

Now the

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Golden Rule, ethics, leadership and workplace safety

There is a legislative basis for occupational health and safety (OHS) but before the laws, there was morality and it is this morality to which most OHS professionals will refer when asked why they work in Safety. But I know no more about morality than anyone else.  So what do I do in these situations? I get a book.

The book I chose was by

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Another mental health player joins the discussion

Pages from EY Putting our minds to it - Addressing mental health-2Recently, Ernst Young released a discussion paper about the risks of mental health in the workplace.

Mental health is a very popular topic at the moment and there are thousands of service providers in this sector. During the recent National Mental Health Week,

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