Stories of engineered stone companies moving interstate to avoid safety obligations

In late December 2019, Dr Graeme Edwards provided an update on Australia’s silicosis situation to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s PM program in which he mentions the movement of businesses to avoid occupational health (OHS) and safety obligations and duties.

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Pimp your administrative controls

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Safety risks increased, or created, by distraction are a problem as relevant to occupational health and safety (OHS) as it is across society. There are analogue solutions – remove the distracting devices – and technological solutions that are often embedded in the distracting device. Sometimes there are other solutions and one is being trialled at a small intersection in Melbourne.

These illuminated tactile pavers have been embedded in the footpath applying the logic that as people are looking down at their phone screens, a bright contrasting floor level background should attract their attention. These footpath lights are synchronised with the pedestrian traffic lights, basically bringing the traffic signals within the peripheral vision of pedestrians.

Several variations on this concept have been trialled around the world for traffic and pedestrian control but they may be more usefully applied in some workplaces, especially where passive hazard signs have become normalised.

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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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Contrasting keynotes at ergonomics conference

It’s Jacaranda season in New South Wales which increases the pleasure of visiting the State for a safety-related conference.  It has been over a decade since SafetyAtWorkBlog attended a conference of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Association of Australia (HFESA), little has changed in the organisation of the conference as HFESA had this conference pretty well organised even a decade ago.

The conference is a comparatively small affair with around 100 delegates, a minimal trade exhibition and only three streams.  But that is all that is needed.  The focus is on two elements:

  • good quality presentations, largely from HFESA members; and
  • networking.

It is perhaps the latter where HFESA has it over some of the other safety-related associations.  

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