Addressing the invisible causes of visible harm

The trade union movement was instrumental in showing that workplace bullying was a pervasive problem in Australian workplaces.  Many Codes of Practice and guidances for workplace bullying and occupational violence were written shortly after the action by the Australian Council of Trade Unions almost two decades ago.  But, for some reason, although sexual harassment was mentioned in those early documents, it never received the attention in occupational health and safety (OHS) circles that, in hindsight, it should have.

Perhaps a more sustainable and effective strategy would be to focus on the “harassment” rather than the “sexual”, or in

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The measuring of culture creates debate

Today, Siobhan McHale, Head of HR at Dulux posted a comment and video on LinkedIn about measuring cultural change.  She introduces her post with:

“Can culture be measured? In my view it can and should be measured – in the same way as any other business activity that’s important to your success.”

The responses have been speedy and this conversation is likely to continue for sometime as McHale is monitoring the comments, some of which dispute McHale’s position.

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The Challenges of Future Workplaces – Part 1

This article is part one of an edited version of a keynote presentation I made at the a special WHS Inspectors Forum organised by WorkSafe Tasmania.  The audience comprised inspectors from around Australia and New Zealand.  I was asked to be provocative and challenging so posed some questions to the audience about how occupational health and safety (OHS) is managed, regulated and inspected.

The audio of the presentation is available at SoundCloud and Podbean and below.

 “The purpose of this session is to provide insight into the future challenges for work health and safety regulators due to changes in the nature of work, the workforce, supply chains, and the social and political environments, and encourage inspectors to consider how the way they do their work may need to change to meet these challenges.”

Be Critical

I encourage you all to analyse what you say, what you are told, what you do and how you do it.  Too often we accept information and our situations uncritically and I want you to question everything, including what you read in this article.

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Could your company manage an embarrassing workplace injury?

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Every man is aware of his penis and scrotum from a very early age. Male genitals do not feature often in discussions about occupational health and safety (OHS) but there was a workplace incident in the United States around 1970 that gained considerable attention but not really from the OHS perspective.  I have always thought this incident would be a useful case study for discussing how this scenario would be managed today.

In 1991 the journal “Medical Aspects of Human Sexuality” Dr William A Morton Jr. wrote of an unusual medical case.  Basic a worker ripped open his scrotum while using a conveyor belt to masturbate.  He was so embarrassed about the incident, he stapled his scrotum back together and told no one of the incident.  I encourage readers to go to the full article at Snopes.com (some may find the details confronting), where Snopes verified the truth of the story, but the industrial crux of the incident is: Continue reading “Could your company manage an embarrassing workplace injury?”