Industrial Manslaughter laws in Australia are about politics, not safety

The latest push for Industrial Manslaughter laws in Australia has appeared as part of the Tasmanian state election.

The Tasmanian branch of the Australian Labor Party released its policy platform for jobs in February 2018 which makes specific and vague commitments on workplace safety which require scrutiny.

Precarious Work

The Tasmanian Labor Leader, Rebecca White, states that

“Labor is committed to addressing casualisation and the outsourcing of work…”

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New farming incident statistics

The latest statistics of farm injuries from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare provide a useful insight in to the workplace risks of Australian farms. Given the workplace focus of the SafetyAtWorkBlog, and the articles written about the risk of working with quad bikes, the following statistics are of great interest:

For quad bikes, almost 90% of injuries were sustained by the driver in people aged 15 and over.” (page 9)

For injuries involving quad bikes, males accounted for two-thirds (66%) of all hospitalisations for children aged 0–14 and almost 80% of all hospitalisations for people aged 15 and over.” (page 9)

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Victoria is ripe for Industrial Manslaughter laws

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The Victorian trade union movement is preparing for the November 2018 State Election with one element of that campaign being the advocacy of Industrial Manslaughter laws.

At the end of January 2018, the unions “kicked off” their campaign with a meeting which reviewed the challenges and wins for injured workers in 2017 and outlined their intentions for 2018. The Industrial Manslaughter Action Kit included a petition which says: Continue reading “Victoria is ripe for Industrial Manslaughter laws”

Out of Range – Work Risks of Wildlife Protection Officers

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by Melody Kemp

 It was nine at night and the shooters had the advantage of superior fire power and night vision goggles …. We stood no chance. Two friends were killed…”

Source: Project Anoulak

David Paklett, a Wildlife Ranger working in Tanzania pulled up his trouser leg and showed me an ugly red scar that looked a bit like an alien pasted to his skin. It was 2013. We were in Spain’s ancient university town of Salamanca, at WILD 10, a sporadic gathering of wilderness and conservation specialists.  He told me how the year before, he and his colleagues had been in a John Woo style shoot out with Vietnamese poachers. The Vietnamese were overhead in a helicopter, firing at them with automatic rifles. ‘It was nine at night and the shooters had the advantage of superior fire power and night vision goggles.’

His words have stayed with me.

‘We stood no chance. Two friends were killed, and I got this.’ When I looked up, his eyes had the look of someone who was looking back with horror. ‘Did you ever talk about that night with anyone?’ I asked sipping a Rioja red. ‘Who is there to tell?’ David grimaced. ‘It’s part of the job. The game has changed. The Chinese are arming these guys and making sure they get away with the kill. The forces behind them are so powerful and we have no resources.’

Lao Rangers in the Annamite mountain range report the same fear according to Bill Robichaud. ‘Camera traps showed these guys (poachers) to have the latest technology, to be well dressed and armed, with modern communication and GPS gear.’ Continue reading “Out of Range – Work Risks of Wildlife Protection Officers”

OHS is not all about workers compensation data

Every couple of months, after the release of official workplace fatality figures and serious injury, the Australian media reports the three most dangerous industries as Agriculture, Fishing and Forestry.  The latest article appeared in Australia’s Fairfax Media on 17 January 2018.  It is good that occupational health and safety (OHS) is gaining attention.  When so little media attention is given, any publicity is useful.

However this type of article also presents some negatives, including that it may be only representing 60% of all workplace fatalities and serious injuries.

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