Queensland’s Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, Grace Grace is continuing to apply political pressure on the opposition (conservative) party over the issue of industrial manslaughter laws, prior to their debate in State Parliament this week.
In a media statement released on October 6 2017, Grace states that
“We owe it to the victims and their loved ones to ensure Queensland has strong industrial manslaughter laws to protect people on the job.”
This is an appealing statement during Australia’s National Safe Work Month but the relationship between industrial manslaughter laws and safer workers is not as clear and direct as the political statements suggest. Continue reading “Queensland’s Industrial Manslaughter push moves to Parliament this week”
WorkSafe Victoria’s Executive Director, Health and Safety , Marnie Williams, has had a horrid week. Last Saturday, while being ill with a cold, she stood in for the Victorian Industrial Relations Minister at a Migrant Worker Forum, at which she was asked “what you gonna do about it?”. However she continues to make herself available, a crucial element for any leader of a regulatory agency.
A couple of days later at a safety conference run by the Safety Institute of Australia, SafetyAtWorkBlog accused WorkSafe of not doing enough about the safety of Victorian farmers. Williams rejected the accusation and forecast a new, and surprising, approach for agricultural safety.
I have written before about the use of Broken Windows theory in an occupational health and safety context. Earlier this year another OHS professional, Bryan McWhorter, wrote about his success in following this approach.
One advantage of talking about this theory is that it applies a concept from outside the OHS field to affect worker and manager behaviours. A safety professional can use the theory’s origin story to show a different approach to safety management. It allows a rationalisation for enforcing safety on those “long hanging” hazards. Continue reading “Broken Windows seems to work”
Australia has a political structure of States and Territories existing within a Federation or Commonwealth. Legislative change has a smooth journey when political stars are aligned, where the same political party is in power at State and Federal levels. Federal change is even smoother when the same political party has control of both houses of Parliament. Not surprisingly, this ultimate combination is rare and could be as damaging to occupational health and safety (OHS) as it can be beneficial. The recent OHS harmonisation process is a good example of a political mess.
This may be the reality of Australian politics but it doesn’t need to be.
Several Australian States have
The Western Australian Government is getting serious about making its occupational health and safety regime consistent with the strategies and operations of the other Australian States. On 27 August 2017, Premier Mark McGowan stated, in a media release, that
“Penalties for workplace safety offences haven’t changed for 13 years. The substantial increases reflect the seriousness of ensuring the safety of Western Australian workers.”