Review of West Gate Bridge findings has important lessons for modern infrastructure projects

2020 will be the fiftieth anniversary of the collapse of the West Gate Bridge which resulted in, amongst others, the deaths of 35 workers, changed Victoria’s approach to occupational health and safety (OHS), instigated a Royal Commission into the disaster, strengthened trade union influence and established an industrial antagonism to the John Holland group of businesses that continues today.

Panorama of West Gate Bridge in Melbourne at sunset in summer.

Last week,

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Don’t “say anything to anyone..” – Dreamworld inquest

The first week of the two-week inquest into four fatalities at the Dreamworld theme park in Queensland has concluded.  It has substantial occupational health and safety (OHS) management lessons for Australian businesses in a similar way to that of many recent workplace disasters.  Those lessons are basic and the hazards are well-known in the OHS profession. Journalists Jamie Walker and Mark Schliebs, in the Weekend Australian newspaper, provided an excellent review (paywalled) of the lessons from that first week.

SafetyAtWorkBlog has not written about the deaths on the, now discontinued, Thunder Rapids ride because there has been an

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ACCC slaps down the FCAI on quad bike safety

On June 5 2018, Sharon O’Keeffe of the North Queensland Register newspaper aired the response of the Deputy Commissioner of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Mick Keogh to claims from the Federated Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) on the safety of quad bikes and crush protection devices (CPDs). O’Keeffe says “the gloves are off”.

In March 2018, the ACCC announced its intention for a mandatory safety standard for quad bikes, or All Terrain Vehicles (ATV,) that included CPDs. 

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Robotics may cause an apocalypse if you’re male, old and low-skilled

Australia’s Office of the Chief Economist has released its first Industry Insights document for 2018.  This one focusses on flexibility and growth and included this statement in the chapter written by Andrew Charlton, a Director, of AlphaBeta :

“At the macroeconomic level, much of this change has been positive. The economy has created new jobs that are, on average, better paid, more satisfying and safer than the jobs that were lost.” (page 19)

Safer jobs? The last claim sent me to the source of the data – 

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Mandatory quad bike safety changes

Product Safety has never been far from the quad bike safety debate in Australia.

Three Wheeler Honda ATV

It was Product Safety that removed the three-wheel ATV from sale in the 1970s and 80s and it seems Product Safety may achieve a safety resolution that occupational health and safety (OHS) consultation could not.

On March 22, 2018 the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) issued a media statement that says the ACCC, amongst other actions:

“…is proposing a mandatory safety standard that:….requires manufacturers to integrate an operator protection device, such as a crush protection device or roll over protection device in the design of new quad bikes…..”

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