Suicide prevention needs more than business as usual

That suicide is related to workplace mental health pressures and illnesses is undisputed, but the more independent analysis on the topic, the more complex the causes become. Sometimes, suicide can be a conscious decision, still due to socioeconomic factors but factors that are not necessarily diagnosed or treated with mental health conditions.

[This article discusses suicide risks]

This reality complicates, and should complicate, strategies for the prevention of suicide. Recently, Australia’s National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) submitted its pre-budget wishlist to the government. This submission included action on suicide and mental health but in traditional ways.

Login or subscribe to SafetyAtWorkBlog to continue reading.

Understanding Grief

Occupational health and safety (OHS) has always dealt with death. Many of the most significant legislative and operational changes have resulted from one or more work-related deaths. The horror and tragedy of each death cause us to redouble our efforts to prevent untimely death.

The reality of occupational deaths and the quest to prevent death are crucial elements of OHS’s beliefs, philosophy and principles. Each of these deaths generates grief, an emotional and mental state that an Australian book explores from the “lived experience”.

Life After is a curious book published in 2021.

Login or subscribe to SafetyAtWorkBlog to continue reading.

Have Tourists and Party Goers Lost the Right to Safe and Healthy Experiences? 

Last year I watched Trainwreck, a documentary on the Woodstock ‘99 music festival. After watching, I took a moment to pause and reflect. I asked myself, have we as a society, and as health and safety professionals, really learned and improved as much as we could have? Over the past five years, Splendour in the GrassFyre Festival, Astro World and Houston Music Festival have all experienced unsafe and unhealthy practices, and even fatal occurrences. These events are not typically discussed in the occupational health and safety circle, and they are not the usual scenarios that are looked to for lessons learned. Nor are the recovery efforts presented at conferences, with improvements showcased and implemented at the next event. 

Login or subscribe to SafetyAtWorkBlog to continue reading.

Grosvenor Fire Case Study – Hopkins

It is always good to start a piece of writing with an attention-grabbing punch. Professor Andrew Hopkins‘ latest research paper does just that in his analysis of the 2020 Anglo-American Grosvenor coal mine explosion. He wrote:

“Senior management at Anglo believed that safety was never sacrificed to production. Their view was safety and productivity went hand in hand and that safety was “just not negotiable”. And yet the Board of Inquiry into the accident found that Grosvenor was producing coal at a rate that consistently exceeded the capacity of the drainage system to cope with the methane gas being released, with the result that “coal mine workers were repeatedly subject to an unacceptable level of risk”. How could senior managers believe that they were so safety conscious and yet be so blind to the most serious hazard facing underground coal miners?”

Page 2
Login or subscribe to SafetyAtWorkBlog to continue reading.

When empathy is also harmful

One of the favoured characteristics of a successful corporate leader is empathy for those under one’s duty of care. The logic is, if you care about your workers, you will look after them and prevent them from harm. But in some jobs, the empathy needed to do the job well also exposes workers to psychosocial harm. This issue of vicarious trauma is an element of our increased attention to workplace mental health and is receiving global attention.

Login or subscribe to SafetyAtWorkBlog to continue reading.

Some good presenters, some great, but OHS conferences need more work

What was missing most from the recent conference of the Asia Pacific Occupational Safety and Health Organisation was a strong Asia-Pacific voice. Certainly, there were presentations by Asian OHS professionals and some westerners working in Asia, but the keynote speakers were almost from Anglo-European cultures. This made it hard to understand if the conference was designed for Asian safety and health professionals to learn from us or for Australians to learn from them. Perhaps it was just for all of us to learn as a profession.

Some of the keynote speakers offered universal suggestions for improving the management of workplace health and safety, but perhaps these were so universal as to be generic or safe. For instance, one of the greatest challenges for the Asian region, in particular, is ensuring the safety of migrant workers. There was one mention of the deaths of the World Cup construction workers, and that was in passing.

Below is a summary of the conference and some of the occupational health and safety issues (OHS) raised.

Login or subscribe to SafetyAtWorkBlog to continue reading.

Will WorkSafe need to become a VicSafe to address climate change?

Occupational health and safety (OHS) professionals are largely aware of the latest international standard for OHS management systems, ISO45001. This is the core standard for businesses to assess their safe systems of work. Others will be aware of the supplementary guidance to ISO45001, like ISO45003 -guidelines for managing psychosocial risks at work.

Recently Phillipe KL Lai Choo spoke about some of the other OHS guidances due for release or development. One of those relates to climate change which could create unexpected changes to how OHS is regulated and enforced.

Login or subscribe to SafetyAtWorkBlog to continue reading.
Concatenate Web Development
© Designed and developed by Concatenate Aust Pty Ltd