Industrial Manslaughter arguments cover old ground

The Queensland Government is in the middle of a debate in Parliament and the media about the introduction of industrial manslaughter as an offence related to serious occupational health and safety (OHS) breaches.  It is both a good and a bad time for this debate. The laws are likely to pass but the debate is showing old arguments, weak arguments, political expediency and union-bashing but not a lot about improvement in workplace safety.

Timeline

Following two major fatal workplace incidents, in April 2017 the Government established an

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Australia the first stop on international roadshow over safety management Standard

The latest safety management standard ISO45001 will be active in a few months’ time.  It is the first international Standard in occupational health and safety (OHS), a fact supported by the length of time and horse-trading that has occurred in its development.  It will be an important OHS document for many countries as, for some, it is a first.  For Western countries, like Australia, New Zealand and Britain, ISO45001 is the latest in a long line of safety management standards, so the hype is more muted.

The new features of this Standard have been outlined in

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Safety Differently – The Movie reviewed

One of the best elements of Sidney Dekker’s new Safety Differently documentary is that he is only in it for a few of its thirty minutes.  It is not that he has nothing to say but the expected audience for this documentary would already be familiar with Dekker’s take on Safety Differently.

This documentary provides what has been needed for the Safety Differently movement for some time  – case studies, trials and experiments.  It was always possible to understand the theory but it was difficult to see how the theory would be implemented.  Partly this was because the implication was that Safety II concepts replaced Safety I.  Rather Safety Differently is a transition from I to II and over a considerable time.

This documentary, which is free to view and released on October 10, 2017. includes three stories – one each from oil & gas, health care and retail supermarkets.  

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Near Kill – Jim Ward speaks

Jim Ward is hardly known outside the Australian trade union movement but many people over the age of thirty, or in the occupational health and safety (OHS) profession, may remember the person Esso blamed for the Esso Longford explosion in 1998.  Just after the nineteenth anniversary of the incident that killed two workers and injured eight other, SafetyAtWorkBlog interviewed Ward about the incident but, more significantly, also about how that incident changed his world view.

For some time now Jim Ward has been the National OHS Director for the Australian Workers’ Union.  Here is a long interview with Ward that provides a useful perspective on OHS while Australia conducts its National Safe Work Month.

[Note: any links in the text have been applied by SafetyAtWorkBlog]

SAWB: Jim, what happened at Longford, and what did it mean for you.

JW:   So, on 25 September 1998, I got up out of bed and went to work, just as I’d done for the previous 18 years of my working life, at the Esso gas plant facility at Longford in Victoria.

There was nothing unforeseen or untoward about that particular day.  But due to, as one judge elegantly described it, “a confluence of events”, it turned out to be the most significant day of my life.

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Financial targets preferred over OHS

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Today’s issue of the Australian Financial Review (AFR)  contained an article that shows that the trend for companies and boards embracing their occupational health and safety (OHS) obligations is not uniform.  The article “Wesfarmers cuts incentive rewards for promoting women and safety” reports that the Managing Director’s share of annual incentives paid for non-financial targets, which includes OHS, has been reduced from 40% to 30%. Continue reading “Financial targets preferred over OHS”