2017 Year in Review creates anxiety and calls for action

Last week in Sydney and Melbourne law firm Clyde & Co conducted seminars reviewing 2017 through the workplace health and safety perspective.  Alena Titterton (pictured right) hosted the Melbourne event which did not follow the proposed topics, but it was friendly and informative, and covered a lot of ground.

This article focuses on the statistics presented in the Year in Review document and some commentary from Titterton.

(An exclusive conversation with Titterton is to be in the next episode of Safety At Work Talks podcast)

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ACCC releases Issues Paper to start public quad bike safety consultation

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) has released an issues paper on quad bike safety with a deadline for public submissions of mid-December 2017.  An ACCC spokesperson has advised that submissions will be made available to the public through the website unless privacy and confidentiality is requested. A draft recommendation is scheduled for early 2018 with a final recommendation in mid-2018.

Issues papers serve two purposes – the provision of information and questions of particular importance.  This article will look at some of those questions.

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Acts of God, the morality of safety – interview with Sidney Dekker

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The latest episode of Safety At Work Talks is a return to the sequence of interviews with Professor Sidney Dekker.  In April 2017, Dekker published a book called The End of Heaven which discusses suffering.  This book has a very different tone from his previous books and is intriguing.

The breadth of the discussion was also surprising with concepts and references rarely talked about in relation to occupational health and safety, such as morality, Acts of God, train disasters and the Bible.  If this sounds heavy, it is useful to follow the discussion that leads to this statement from Dekker:

“Safety Culture is the new Human Error”.

This latest episode is available at

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/safetyatworkblog/safety-at-works-talks-episode-03 

Podbean: https://safetyoz.podbean.com/

Kevin Jones

Industrial manslaughter debate reveals commitment and misunderstandings

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Industrial manslaughter laws passed through the Queensland Parliament on October 12 2017.  The debate about the laws on that day is an interesting read as it illustrates some of the thoughts about workplace safety in the minds of policy decision makers, business owners, industry associations, trade unions and safety advocates.

Lawyer for Herbert Smith Freehills, Steve Bell, has said in a LinkedIn post that:

“Will [industrial manslaughter laws] make workplaces safer? In my view probably not, but it will certainly affect the manner in which businesses respond to workplace incidents and external investigations.”

This perspective is understandable and valid when one considers the laws to be a part of the post-incident investigation and prosecution.  A similar view was expressed in Queensland’s Parliament by the  Liberal National Party’s David Janetzki, based on the submission by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland: Continue reading “Industrial manslaughter debate reveals commitment and misunderstandings”

Industrial Manslaughter arguments cover old ground

The Queensland Government is in the middle of a debate in Parliament and the media about the introduction of industrial manslaughter as an offence related to serious occupational health and safety (OHS) breaches.  It is both a good and a bad time for this debate. The laws are likely to pass but the debate is showing old arguments, weak arguments, political expediency and union-bashing but not a lot about improvement in workplace safety.

Timeline

Following two major fatal workplace incidents, in April 2017 the Government established an

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