Innovation in occupational health and safety (OHS) is often encouraged by government but government processes and policy can also discourage and limit this. An obvious example is where government insists on compliance with OHS laws in its tendering criteria but acknowledges that the tender safety criteria remains outdated and, privately, that OHS compliance is not enough to ensure a safe and healthy workplace.
An important OHS document in the Victorian bureaucracy and construction sector is a
It is the twentieth anniversary of the explosive demolition of the Canberra Hospital. The demolition was meant to be an implosion but instead debris scatter well outside the designated safety zone resulting in the death of one person and injuries to nine. Such events are significant at the time but fade from memory until anniversaries are noted, however, there are important occupational health and safety (OHS) lessons from such incidents which do not have the drama of a Piper Alpha or a Challenger but are nevertheless as instructive.
Following a recent article about Enforceable Undertakings, several readers have asked for more information about the occupational health and safety (OHS) breaches that cause WorkSafe New Zealand to commence prosecution actions.
The investigation report provides some useful discussion on safety management failures and Board of Trustee obligations.
Enforceable Undertakings (EU) are a relatively new phenomenon in the occupational health and safety (OHS) world. They are, fundamentally, a legal process that allows organisations to avoid a prosecution for breaching OHS laws. The issue has garnered some attention recently due to application of an EU to a New Zealand school after two student actors received cuts to their throats, one on the opening night of a school production of Sweeney Todd. The Enforceable Undertaking will result in big safety changes at St Kentigern School but there are several assumptions that weaken the impact of an EU.