Journalist Alice Workman drew social media’s attention to a dismissive answer by Australia’s Minister for Small and Family Business, the Workplace and Deregulation, Craig Laundy in Parliament last week. Laundy was asked by the Opposition Labor Party’s Ed Husic about a workplace fatality report and the safety performance of the Work-For-The-Dole scheme. The discussion provides a glimpse into the politics of occupational health and safety (OHS).
Marnie Williams, Executive Director of WorkSafe Victoria launched 2018 with a presentation at a breakfast seminar organised by the Safety Institute of Australia and hosted by Herbert Smith Freehills in Melbourne. Williams illustrated that WorkSafe is very aware of community and business expectations on her authority’s performance and showed WorkSafe is very busy as it restructures around its relocation to Geelong and elsewhere However it could change even more or in different, more sustainable, ways.
Williams’ presentation proposed a positive future where the actions and issues associated with occupational health and safety (OHS) broaden to involve the Victorian community and address safety and health concerns that may no longer fit within the established OHS definitions, approaches and strategies.
In 19 February 2018, Safe Work Australia (SWA) “launched” the independent review of Australia’s Work Health and Safety laws under former Executive Director of SafeWorkSA, Marie Boland. SWA has released a 49-page discussion paper, a summary and a list of questions. Below is an initial response to some of those questions.
What are your views on the effectiveness of the three-tiered approach – model WHS Act supported by model WHS Regulations and model WHS Codes – to achieve the object of the model WHS laws?
The structure works well, when business owners know of the relevant documents.
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.
The Tasmanian Labor Leader, Rebecca White, states that
“Labor is committed to addressing casualisation and the outsourcing of work…”
The Weekly Times newspaper has included an 8-page wraparound to its 7 February 2018 edition about workplace safety. The supplement is timely, the contents are indicative of cultural and political changes and the supplement is a nice summary of the multiple hazards and management approaches needed in agriculture (the same as in most industries, really).
Data quoted liberally from