Too big to change

The strong readership of the article on truck driver safety based on the research of Dr Clare George resulted in one reader remind me of Australian research from 2017 that looked at similar issues.

In 2017 Louise Thornthwaite and Sharron O’Neill published “Regulating the work health and safety of Australian road freight transport drivers: summary report“.  The authors wrote:

“Work health and safety (WHS) is a significant issue for the heavy vehicle road freight transport industry. The sector has a history of the highest fatalities and serious injury rates of any industry in Australia. While media focuses on drivers killed in road crashes, these represent only a subset of the hundreds of drivers killed or permanently disabled, and thousands more injured, in and around trucks each and every year.

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OHS is often about broken promises

Occupational health and safety (OHS) is often about promises.  Employees trust their bosses to provide them with a job and the employer promises to provide a workplace that is as safe as possible.  There are also contractual policies which formalise OHS relationships between client and contractor.  But OHS is more often about those more personal promises and expectations between the boss and the worker.


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Boland releases Public Consultancy Summary of WHS inquiry

The Independent Review of Model WHS Laws being conducted by Marie Boland released a Public Consultation Summary on August 17 2018.  Boland lists the concerns raised with her as including:

“the blurring of lines between WHS [work health and safety], public safety and public health”

“The length and complexity of the Regulations and Codes”

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An EU donation benefits the NZ OHS profession

Earlier this year the Safety Institute of Australia (SIA) was the beneficiary of funds granted as part of an Enforceable Undertaking (EU) after a company breached occupational health and safety (OHS) laws.  This month it was the turn of the New Zealand Institute of Safety Management (NZISM).

As a result of an OHS prosecution of Fletcher Constructions by WorkSafe New Zealand, an Enforceable Undertaking was agreed to and one of the obligations was a $10,000 donation to NZISM.  The EU says the donation is intended

“… to assist its work in supporting and providing educational development opportunities for health and safety professionals in New Zealand.”

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Early WHS submissions are a mixed bag

The first lot of anonymous submissions to Australia’s Independent Review of Work Health and Safety Laws is an interesting mix.

One seems written by a regional paramedic calling for increased prescription of workplace first aid requirements. There are complaints about the contents of first aid kits which should have been addressed by the occupational health and safety (OHS) option of providing equipment to meet the results of a first aid needs analysis about which the submitter says:

“The recommendation to add additional items based on an appropriate risk assessment is almost, to my knowledge, never completed.”

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SIA receives $50K through Enforceable Undertaking

Enforceable Undertakings (EUs) are increasingly popping up in the prosecution lists of occupational health and safety (OHS) regulators.  A curious one appeared on WorkSafe Victoria’s website in January 2018.

Ardex Australia P/L was prosecuted for breaching OHS laws after a subcontractor was burnt:

“…when a dry powder mixing machine was operated whilst hot metal slag from welding activity was in the plant, causing an explosive dust-air mixture.”

But what is most curious is the EU’s inclusion of a $A50,000 donation to the Safety Institute of Australia (SIA).

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