Unsafe systems of management

Excessive workplace stress in the medical profession is well documented but stress is often seen as a minor workplace hazard that is fairly easily dealt with by holidays, for instance, or is dismissed as an “occupational hazard” or part of the entry to the profession or just part of the culture, with the implication that nothing can change.  Only recently have work-related suicides garnered serious research attention and these incidents are now being openly discussed, as this April 2018 article in the MJA Insight shows.

The author of the opinion piece, Dr

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Why hazards are not reported

Each year thousands of people express support for International Workers Memorial Day and the World Day for Safety and Health at Work publicly and through social media.  This is a statement of their commitment to occupational health and safety (OHS) as well as a call to continue action in improving workplace health and safety.  However, this usually does not add to the state of knowledge on OHS.

This year there was a couple of contributions of information that may be useful.  Shine Lawyers released the findings of a recent survey (not yet available online) into why workers do not report workplace incidents. The survey was largely overlooked by the media, perhaps because the full survey results have not been released publicly.

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Why are we arguing about Industrial Manslaughter laws?

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From left: Dave Brownlee, Janine Brownlee & Lana Cormie

On the issue of Industrial Manslaughter laws, Lana Cormie (pictured far right) said:

“Employers need to have motivation to do the right thing, ’cause clearly they don’t do it off their own back.  So, if that means, if this’ll be the difference between them making OH&S a high priority and not, then it needs to be done.  And I think all the other benefits for the men on the ground, and the women on the ground, will filter down from that.  “

Her comments on International Workers Memorial Day emphasises that the introduction of these laws is not so much about new laws but the failure of the existing ones and of their application.  Over time, the general commitment to implementing occupational health and safety (OHS) has declined in many workplaces or, at least, has not progressed in the way expected by the safety law makers of the 1970s and 1980s.

Government has relied on the increase of financial penalties as the major deterrent Continue reading “Why are we arguing about Industrial Manslaughter laws?”

The wisdom of a farming Near Miss

Australia’s occupational health and safety (OHS) agenda seems largely dictated by high risk industries like construction in some States and the mining sector in others. But agriculture is common to all Australia States and is consistently included in the official and unofficial workplace fatality data. New research has been released into serious farm injuries and which voices are the most effective in improving the situation.

The level of risk in Australian farms is illustrated well by

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Flogging the banks could help safety

Australia’s Royal Commission into banking and financial services is a few months in and the evidence provided of wrongdoing is so substantial that those who were critical of the need for such an investigation are admitting they were wrong.

SafetyAtWorkBlog is applying the logic that occupational health and safety (OHS) succeeds best when it is part of the organisational culture.  Australia has often held its banking and financial services as “world-class” and many of that industry sector’s leaders have been prominent in speaking about the importance of leadership and corporate morality.

The financial and banking industry’s credibility and authority in Australia is gone and the OHS profession can learn much from this failure, even when the failure is in its early stages of exposure.

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