Coincidentally, as an article about quad bike safety was being uploaded to this blog, details of the release of Tasmanian coronial findings were received. The findings were released by Coroner Simon Cooper on August 25 2017 and were not reported widely.
The Coroner investigated seven deaths related to quad bikes but only two occurred on workplaces or as part of performing work – Heather Richardson and Roger Larner. Curiously, WorkSafe Tasmania did not investigate these work-related deaths. Continue reading “Tassie Coroner releases his safety findings on 7 quad bike deaths”
The Queensland Government has released the final report of its “Best Practice Review of Workplace Health and Safety Queensland“. Most of the media attention is given to the introduction of Industrial Manslaughter laws but there are some interesting recommendations and discussion on Enforceable Undertakings, insurance products and other matters of interest to business and safety professionals.
The Queensland Government announced the review earlier this year, particularly, in response to fatalities at Dreamworld and Eagle Farm. A Discussion Paper was released in April.
Industrial Manslaughter laws have been floating around Australia’s occupational health and safety (OHS), legal union and political sectors for many years. Only the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) introduced such a law and the Crimes (Industrial Manslaughter) Amendment Act 2003 remains in effect.
The significance in this Queensland report is that the document is entitled “Best Practice” so the panel, based on its own experience and the many submissions it received, adds considerable weight to these controversial laws.
On 17 August 2017, Matthew Swinbourn of the Australian Labor Party spoke, at length, in the Western Australian Parliament about workplace safety. His address did not seem to be prompted by an industrial relations dispute or a recent fatality but is supportive of general occupational health and safety (OHS) principles and the changes in WA law to improve compatibility with the Work Health and Safety laws and obligations in other States.
The response from the former Minister for Commerce and Liberal Party member, Michael Mischin, was a curious mix of rebuttals and was one of several Parliamentarians who chose to speak about workplace safety in that State’s Legislative Council.
According to Hansard for that day, Swinbourn mentioned the substantial cost burden on individual workers and their families of workplace injuries.
“Of these costs—this was a surprising figure to me—the overwhelming majority, 95 per cent, is borne by individuals and society. Workers bore 77 per cent of those costs, the community 18 per cent and employers five per cent.”
James Wood was injured during work on an Australian mine site in 1985 resulting in spinal cord damage and other complications. For a long time, James has been telling his story to Australian workers for them to understand the risks they face, primarily, at work. I caught up with James on a very cold morning at a lovely café in Victoria’s Yarra Valley earlier this month.
SAWB: James, I heard you talk about your workplace injury and the disruption and the consequences of that at least 15 years ago at a breakfast meeting. It was extremely effective, and a powerful message. Fifteen years later you’re still doing that. Why tell your story? Why would anybody want to hear it?
JW: Well, there’s probably a couple of answers, Kevin. I share my story and my experiences because I know how my workplace accident changed my life and I know how it affected a lot of the people around me at the time. My family, workmates, friends. I believe that by sharing my story, I can give people a little bit of information about what it’s like to get hurt at work or even away from work.
I honestly hope that by telling people how I got hurt and how it changed my life, it can give people the reason to maybe use some of the training that we’re all given. To use the systems and the procedures that most workplaces have and try and stop somebody else from getting hurt.
Sidney Dekker is a leading, and influential, voice in thinking about safety. His latest book, “The End of Heaven – Disaster and Suffering in a Scientific Age” is intriguing. In a couple of weeks SafetyAtWorkBlog will have an exclusive interview with Dekker about this book and other related issues but in the meantime here is a list of chapter topics as described by Dekker in his Preface. Compared to his earlier books, this book’s intrigue should be obvious.