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?”

Where is the Senate Inquiry into Industrial Deaths heading?

As readers would realise, the transcripts for the Australian Senate inquiry into industrial deaths are fascinating. It is worth looking at the other presentations and questions on the day when the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry received a grilling as this provides insight into how to present to a government inquiry addressing occupational health and safety.

The Senate Committee has probably heard more from relatives of deceased workers than has any other similar inquiry, perhaps even the Workplace Bullying inquiry in which this Committee’s member Deborah O’Neill participated.  This is an indication of the shift in OHS over the last few years where the human impacts of workplace safety failures, what some describe as the “lived experience”, gain an influence that used to sit with professionals and acknowledged subject matter experts.

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A bad day for ACCI at the Senate Inquiry into Industrial Deaths

Jennifer Low, Associate Director of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry addressed the Senate Inquiry into Industrial Deaths in Perth on August 30 2018.  Much of her presentation would be familiar to occupational health and safety professionals as it reflects the ideological position that the ACCI has put to countless inquiries over almost 20 years.  It is fair to say that the ACCI did not have a good day at the Inquiry.

Low’s presentation commenced with a restating of the general commitments to safety and that the ACCI and its members hold the importance of OHS as a “fundamental belief”. This was followed up with

“Our employer network feels strongly that the prevention for workplace incidents, injuries and fatalities is a shared responsibility.” (page 1, emphasis added)

This

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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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Safety Leadership is a thing and not a person

For many years now workplace health and safety conferences have discussed Leadership and how it is vital to the establishment of appropriate safety performance and, often, the establishment of a safety culture.  NSCA Foundation’s SafetyCONNECT conference was no different in some ways but there was a major concession in the last couple of the minutes of the conference.

Many presenters implied, or stated, that Leadership is a critical element of successful safety management.  They also said that safety starts from the top.  It is not unreasonable to interpret these statements as meaning that Leadership is embodied in the Chief Executive Officer, Senior Executive or Director and that safety trickles down through the management structures like neoliberal nonsense.

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