One of the favoured characteristics of a successful corporate leader is empathy for those under one’s duty of care. The logic is, if you care about your workers, you will look after them and prevent them from harm. But in some jobs, the empathy needed to do the job well also exposes workers to psychosocial harm. This issue of vicarious trauma is an element of our increased attention to workplace mental health and is receiving global attention.
The next stage of OHS analysis?
“One of our key roles as the regulator is to understand why workplace injuries happen” –Dr Natassia Goode. Worksafe Victoria, February 9, 2023.
Dr Goode made this statement at a research seminar for the Institute for Safety, Compensation and Recovery Research. She went on to explain those “widely acknowledged” causes in an expansive discussion about “systems thinking“.
Mental health book should be influential due to lack of bullshit
Some of the recent guidance on mental health at work from occupational health and safety (OHS) regulators is not scintillating or even engaging. Their purpose is to provide information with the hope it is presented in a workplace by someone super-communicative and influential. (C’mon, really? We’re talking about OHS here.)
Luckily there is a recent easy-to-read book of fewer than 150 pages that reads like a conversation over a single afternoon with the reader about Mental Health At Work.Continue reading “Mental health book should be influential due to lack of bullshit”
2022 review indicates the amount of OHS work needed in 2023
The end-of-year reviews are starting to emerge from Australia’s law firms. The most recent release is from Maddocks, who have released several short reports on occupational health and safety (OHS) hazards and suggested controls for employers to apply. So this is a year-in-review for 2022, but it is also a forecast of what needs to be changed in 2023.
Possible Treasury and Industrial Relations white papers before the Job Summit and October Budget
So what level and type of well-being budget did Dr Jim Chalmers commit his government to? A lot less than we anticipated last week. Dr Chalmers gave a nod to the work of his New Zealand counterpart but seems to be waiting for further discussion in the “jobs summit” in September 2022.
Michelle Grattan has written that:
“A coming test for consensus will be the September jobs summit. This will be an ideas-gathering exercise, but the government will also want to shape it as a prelude to the October budget, and that will require some common messages.”
Regardless of Dr Chalmers’ intention to develop a well-being budget, the jobs summit will have the same tripartite of industrial relations and occupational health and safety (OHS) invitees. Unless Dr Chalmers and Treasury offer up something fresh, like an OHS perspective on the prevention of mental health, innovation is unlikely. Little more than “in-principle” agreements should be anticipated.
“how-to-lift training does not work”
In 2017, this blog reported on an article from WorkSafe Queensland that said that manual handling training in “correct manual handling” or “safe lifting” did not prevent musculoskeletal injuries. WorkSafe supported this by extensive research, but training courses continue today, perpetuating an over-reliance on manual handling as a suitable risk control measure, which does not meet the compliance requirements of the occupational health and safety laws.
Last month WorkSafe Queensland released a video that updated and reinforced their position.Continue reading ““how-to-lift training does not work””
Back to the old office in a new world
Many employers are rattling around floors of empty offices while their employees are working remotely or at home and almost entirely due to modern telecommunications. This has not been at the request of employers but due to government lockdown requirements. The push to have workers return to multi-storey offices is reflective of the desire to return to normal rather than accepting that established business structures have been rendered impractical or unfeasible for the coronavirus future.
A recent article in the New York Times illustrates this new circumstance well. The article, titled “New surveys show how pandemic workplace policies are shifting“, says that the major information technology companies in the United States that every business seems to want to emulate even though their practices are very questionable are continuing to postpone the return of workers to bricks and mortar (or glass and stainless steel) offices. The NYTimes article is the first to discuss this phenomenon and its relation to mandatory vaccinations.